May 13, 2008
I believe there is only one Museum of Funeral Customs in the world. It is located in Springfield, Illinois, near Oak Ridge Cemetery, the site of Abraham Lincoln's tomb. Our web analytics company invited us to visit the museum with their staff. The museum contained exhibits dealing with American funerary and mourning customs and various related collections. Basically, it provides resources to scholars for researching funeral customs, hosts tours and special events.
We were amazed to find all kinds of funeral paraphernalia from various cultures and times. Personally, I liked rare books collection on embalming dating as early as the 16th century. We saw at the museum recreated 19th century middle class American home funeral setting, recreated embalming room from Jazz generation of the 1920s. There were exhibits of embalming equipment and instruments, examples of postmortem photography and even the scale models of Lincoln's tomb and funeral train.
Naturally, there is humor in everything, even death. We found confirmation of this when we visited museum's gift shop. It did not make much sense to us that this shop was selling plain polo shirts or sweatshirts. But my co-workers and I purchased plenty of hilarious stuff, like milk chocolate coffins, wooden and silver casket key rings, casket-shaped paper weights. One of our guys still wears at work the t-shirt with a morbid sign that says "Everybody's Gotta Go Sometime…"
May 13, 2008 5:36pm
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