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National Museum Of Funeral History

An Educational Hub For Children Adults And Teachers

Satisfy your curiosity at The National Museum of Funeral History

The National Museum of Funeral History was built in 1992, and as their education page shows, they’ve had enough time to think about the needs of the public.

Teachers can take kids on field trips to explore a bit of American history at the Presidential Funerals exhibit, covering presidents like George Washington, Gerald Ford, and Abraham Lincoln. It includes artifacts like a replica of the derringer that John Wilkes Booth used to shoot Lincoln, and an actual memorial badge worn at the revered president’s funeral. Heck, there’s even an exhibit in honor of George H.W. Bush that explains his custom-made “4141 train” Union Pacific train, shown on the UP website. Plus, let’s be honest: it’s a good chance to loosen the kids up with some mortuary jokes.

Speaking of children, the museum is intended to be kid-friendly, contains nothing “gruesome or spooky,” and admits those over the age of 7, as the families’ page states . The museum’s very sensible approach to death as something to be discussed, demystified, and not feared, represents a powerful shift in thinking that lots of folks would be wise to adopt. Have a gander at the images gallery if you doubt the wholesomeness of the museum’s experience.

And for those who want a “In Dog Years I’m Dead” t-shirt, as the museum’s shop page shows, you’re a shopping cart entry away from purchasing your partner’s next birthday gift.

Waxen Popes Ghanian Coffins Mexican Ofrendas And More

The big ticket items at the National Museum of Funeral History, located along I-45 north of Houston, Texas, are its exhibits.

Care to gaze at waxen visages of deceased religious leaders? Celebrating Lives and Deaths of the Popes has got you covered . The museum states that they worked directly with the Vatican for three years to build life-sized, prop-filled, dioramic scenes meant to convey a sense of what it’s like to attend a pope’s funeral.

Interested in having a commissioned custom coffin crafted in the shape of a leopard, crab, or Mercedes Benz? Fantasy Coffins from Ghana awaits you. Sculptor Kane Quaye from Accra, Ghana, has helped the museum set up an exhibit the largest outside of Ghana showcasing how Ghanaians can “secure spiritual favor for the family left on earth” by building a sweet post-life vessel for their ancestors.

Curious to learn more about the gorgeous Mesoamerican artistry and traditions of Día de los Muertos ? Pop over to Día de los Muertos and check out ofrendas or stroll through a recreation of a “traditional Mexican home and graveyard” as they appear on November 1 and 2.

Don’t miss Victorian etiquette regarding the deceased, the history of cremation, old Japanese hearses, and monuments to fallen soldiers.

From Southern Calls Volume 8

Collecting dust in the basement of the Texas Funeral Directors Association was a hodgepodge of funeral memorabilia and artifacts collected by Robert Waltrip and other funeral directors associated with the professional organization. We all felt that the items should be showcased, says Waltrip, who originally planned to partner with the National Funeral Directors Association to open the nations first museum dedicated solely to funeral service history.

Exact replica of Popes coffin built by Mastercraft Casket Company | *Bobby Carlsen was given closeup access of all museum displays

After purchasing Commonwealth Institute of Mortuary Science, Waltrip decided to construct the museum on the school grounds. Many of the items on display were either donated or saved from funeral homes we have acquired over the years. The first old funeral coach is from Drake & Son in Chicago.

Skeleton and vintage embalming tableSouthern Calls photographer, Bobby Carlsen, takes photo of interior of an actual Popemobile on displaySouthern Calls Mike Squires and Luke Teague in front of 1921 Rockfall Hearse

An outstanding, constantly evolving collection of undertaking antiquities, oddities and memorabilia, the National Museum of Funeral History provides an extraordinary glimpse that combines both history and morbid curiosity. The National Museum of Funeral History is a 501 nonprofit governed by a board of directors and is perhaps the largest funeral museum in the world.

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Welcome To Our Museum

The National Museum of Funeral History is an educational experience like no other and offers something for everyone. Discover Americas largest collection of authentic, historical funeral service items.

Learn about caskets and coffins, hearses through history, plus the funerals of Presidents, Popes, celebrities and more while you witness the cultural heritage of the funeral service industry and its time-honored tradition of compassion.

Touring The National Museum Of Funeral History

National Museum of Funeral History

With over 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, NMFH is certainly the largest educational center on funerary customs in the United Statesperhaps the worldfeaturing 16 permanent exhibits, temporary displays, and a one-of-a-kind gift shop.

Presidential Funerals

A cornerstone of the museum, this exhibition just inside the front entrance remembers the services of past presidents, including a display of the presidential hearse that carried Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush, as well as artifacts, dioramas, and casket displays for Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy.

To the side, a special permanent exhibit brings together items from the funerals of Barbara and George H.W. Bush, and recounts the funeral train tour that carried the former President after his death in 2018the first presidential funeral train in half a century.

Celebrating the Lives & Deaths of the Popes

Another of the museums centerpieces, this 10,000-square foot exhibition documents the ceremony and lives of multiple popes, in their ascension and death, complete with many real artifacts that have been obtained at great effort through various monsignors, papal tailors, and the Vatican itself.

Thanks for the Memories

Nestled in one of the back corners of the museum, this permanent exhibition is a shrine to many notable celebrities and public figures, featuring historical artifacts, newspapers, memorabilia, and the funeral and memorial cards of actors, athletes, astronauts, musicians, veterans, and others.

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The National Museum Of Funeral History Is The Largest Of Its Kind And Houses Abraham Lincolns Hair And Fantasy Coffins

The National Museum of Funeral History features hearses of the past and an exhibit honoring dead celebrities.

At the National Museum of Funeral History, any day above ground is a good one. So goes the whimsical tagline for the Houston institution with an expansive collection of items ranging from an authentic strand of President Abraham Lincoln’s hair and a coffin built for three to a pair of hiking boots worn by the late Robin Williams in the film “RV.”

The bizarre, 30,500-square-foot museum is the largest of its kind, housing the most funerary artifacts in the world. It was founded in 1992 by undertaker Robert Waltrip, to “educate the public and preserve the heritage” of one of man’s oldest professions: death care.

The original hiking boots worn by Robin Williams in the 2006 film “RV.”

Upon expanding his familys funeral business, Waltrip was faced with discarding some of the older tools of his trade and sought for a way to preserve them. What started as a way to house his own funerary items has since evolved into a rich cultural experience for the thousands who visit, says Genevieve Keeney, president, CEO and curator of the museum.

Collection of historical hearses.

Inside a 1972 Japanese ceremonial hearse.

The hearse that was used to carry the bodies of President Ronald Reagan and President Gerald R. Ford.

Pope John Paul Iis Sash

An entire exhibit hall is dedicated to the death of a pope, a display 3 years in the making with the help of the Vatican. Within, youll see Pope, now Saint, John Paul IIs embroidered sash, his vestments made by the same family of tailors who has outfitted the last seven popes, shoes, a replica of his simple, small wooden coffin, and replica of his grave in St. Peters Cathedral in Rome. The display walks visitors through the process of caring for and burying a deceased pope and the protocol for selecting his replacement.

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National Museum Of Funeral History Admission

Expiration: 365 days after purchase

The National Museum of Funeral History is an educational experience like no other and offers something for everyone. Discover Americas largest collection of authentic, historical funeral service items. With 15 exhibits to explore, learn about caskets and coffins, hearses though history, plus the funerals of Presidents, Popes, celebrities and more while you witness the cultural heritage of the funeral service industry and its time-honored tradition of compassion.Exhibits include:Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the PopesDay of the Dead/Dia de los MuertosHistory of EmbalmingTomb of the Unknown SoldierReflections on the WallCoffins and Caskets of the PastHistorical HearsesA Life Well Lived: Fantasy Coffins from GhanaJapanese Funerals9/11 and Fallen Heroes TributeMarsellus Casket Company

The Vision Of Robert Boetticher

The Texas Bucket List – The National Museum of Funeral History

Before you arrive, dispel any images of kitschy wax museums and tourist traps because NMFH is the culmination of the career of Mr. Robert M. Boetticher, who has spent his life in the field of funeral service since 1965, and served as chairman to the museum since 1993.

Mr. Boetticher has spent his career cultivating a global network of friends and families that have called upon his expertise and service to honor their loved ones. He has directed the funerals of Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan , and assisted in the services of Senator John McCain, Senator Ted Kennedy, actress Farrah Fawcett and other high-profile figures.

His relationships have allowed for the gradual expansion of NMFH, to include a curated selection of artifacts, replicas, and more, whether obtained at great effort through his vast network or exhibits built by his and his sons hands.

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The Truth Of The National Museum Of Funeral History

“Any day above ground is a good one.”

This quote, placarded on the bottom of every page on the National Museum of Funeral History website, embodies what the museum is all about. In fact, it might be a misnomer to call the place merely a “museum.” It’s more of an interactive, respectable, matter-of-fact tribute to the inevitable phase of life that many shy away from discussing: death. Whether someone chooses to be buried in a casket, cremated, or composted, and barring some sci-fi tech that prolongs life to the length of a character from Highlander : all of us will one day face the Great Beyond. As the museum’s FAQ gracefully states, “The Museum is an excellent neutral place to introduce children to the concept of death, which is a natural part of life and nothing to be feared. Inevitably, we all have someone in our lives die, so when that does happen, it won’t be such a difficult concept to discuss if they’ve already been introduced to it at the Museum.”

The museum has 16 exhibits, including those on antique hearses and casket creation, funeral services from Mexico and Ghana, tributes to popes, a 19th-century mourning exhibit to learn about customs, a history of “jazz funerals” of New Orleans, an embalming history exhibit, obituary-writing resources, tours for families, resources for teachers, and a tongue-in-cheek memorabilia shop. The entire museum can be rented for memorial services, lock-ins, Halloween parties, corporate events, and more.

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No One Gets Out Alive

Young, old, rich, poor, famous, infamous, or somewhere in between, no one here gets out alive, as Jim Morrison sang in the song Five to One. Morrison himself was no exception hes part of the museums Gone Too Soon memorial dedicated to the dozens of famous artists and actors who passed away at the age of 27. Other members of the 27 Club include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Anton Yelchin.

  • Thanks for the Memories exhibit on celebrity deaths. | Photo: Teresa Otto
  • A sash worn by Pope John Paul II. | Photo: Teresa Otto
  • Snow Whites glass coffin. | Photo: Teresa Otto

Kobe Bryant and Charlie Daniels, who both died in 2020, are the newest members included in the Thanks for the Memories exhibit. Their displays join beloved icons Judy Garland, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Marilyn Monroe, along with lesser-known names such as Arch West, a marketing executive with Frito-Lays credited with inventing Doritos.

The museums Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes exhibit teaches me more than years of attending parochial schools. According to Keeney, the most precious artifact in the museum is a sash worn by Saint Pope John Paul II. Similar to U.S. presidents, protocols and rituals dictate everything done after a popes death down to how to destroy the popes fisherman ring used to seal official documents.

  • Wooden fantasy coffins. | Photo: Teresa Otto
  • A coffin covered with money. | Photo: Teresa Otto

National Museum Of Funeral History Houston Overview

National Museum of Funeral History à Houston, Texas

Spanning over an area of 35,000 square feet, the National Museum of Funeral History that opened in 1992, houses a variety of funeral service artefacts, relics as well as exhibits that provide information on the various aspects of death care. The exhibits and collections focus on particular funeral traditions with respect to a culture or country , elaborate on the use of various objects during funerals, pay tribute to several historical figures or emphasise on certain tragic events.

Interestingly, the museum had worked with the Vatican when curating the Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes exhibit, to educate people about the different papal funeral ceremonies. The museum is also known to host a plethora of educational programs for adults, students and educators that focus on aspects of funerals related to biology, culture and social practices, chemistry, history, craftmanship of artefacts, vehicles, language etc.

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Learn About The History Of Cremation

As a former funeral director certified in cremation and embalming, Kinney’s favorite exhibit is The History of Cremation which she helped to curate after it was popularly requested by guests. The exhibit, which dives into the history of cremation and misconceptions about the industry, is contained inside a replica of the first crematorium built in America.

The National Museum of Funeral History features an exhibit on cremation.

However, Keeneys favorite item is also a popular one: a “money casket” displayed near the entrance among other coffins and caskets of the past. The acrylic structure embedded with authentic dollar bills and coins at one point was decorated with $1,000 in currency but part of it was stolen. The casket is now down to $643. Its probably the most unique item in the museum itself because who would have thought that you can take it with you,” Keeney says, laughing.

An acrylic casket embedded with dollar bills and coins.

Coffin Usb Flash Drive

Memory storage capacity
National Museum of Funeral History
Hardware interface
  • Features a miniture 3″ x 1-1/2 “toe-pincher” coffin
  • National Museum of Funeral History logo
  • 8GB memory capacity
  • Supports high-speed USB 2.0 and USB 3.0
  • Startup by USB-HDD or USB-ZIP mode, and has storage lifetime of more than 10 years

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National Museum Of Funeral History

The National Museum of Funeral History houses the largest collection of funeral artifacts in the U.S.

The National Museum of Funeral History traces the history of funeral services, displays historic hearses and provides memorabilia from funerals of the famous such as Michael Jackson and JFK.

Initially, it was believed the Museums target audience would primarily consist of persons engaged in death care professions, such as funeral directors, embalmers, and cemeterians, as well as providing historical base

and a sustaining element of professional pride for instructors and students of Commonwealth.

As the Museum evolved, the national museum of Funeral Historys mission broadened to encompass public education-in effect, bringing the mysterious and frequently taboo topic of death into accessible, non-threatening, and non-macabre setting for kindergarten students through senior citizens.

Currently, the Museum is in its fifth development evolution since inception eighteen years ago-that of expanding acquisitions and exhibits to encompass a comprehensive multicultural and multinational offering to better serve its heterogeneous constituency.

A Yamaha Outboard Motor

National Museum of Funeral History

The Life Well Lived exhibit gathers a collection of 12 fantasy coffins from Ghana the largest collection outside of this west African nation. Seth Kane Kwe created the vibrantly painted, hand-carved wooden coffins, designed to immortalize the essence of the person, his or her occupation, or what the deceased hoped for in the afterlife.

The collection includes an odd assortment of objects and animals that outside of this context would never be linked: a lobster, KLM airplane, Mercedes sedan, shallot, leopard, fish, bull, and Yamaha outboard motor, to name a few.

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