The National Museum of Funeral History has the biggest collection of genuine, historic funeral service materials in the United States. In addition to being an educational experience in and of itself, it has something for everyone. Insightful displays on embalming and African fantasy coffins highlight the museum’s examination of death’s science, history, and art.
The museum in Houston, Texas, has a total floor space of 35,000 square feet and was first inaugurated in 1992. The museum’s collection has objects and relics that seek to “inform the public and preserve the legacy of death care.”
The museum is on the northside of Houston off of Richey Road and Interstate 45, exit 64. During the week, the museum is open from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon; on weekends, it is available from noon until four in the afternoon.
The price of admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 6 to 11. A limited number of guided tours are available, but they must be booked in advance. Tours are available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They run an hour and include the museum’s exhibits and a few lesser-known facts regarding the history and tradition of funerals.
The History of the Museum
In 1992, the National Museum of Funeral History was established in Houston, Texas. The museum was born out of Robert L. Waltrip’s 25-year desire to create an educational and archival center for the public to learn about death and death care.
Later in the year, Mr. Waltrip built a 20,500-square-foot facility to store relics from the funeral services business, which he noticed were being thrown away.
The museum was established as a repository for the industry’s history, including how it originated and how it has changed through time. One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is its ever-expanding collection of classic hearses.
Visitors can experience what it is like to attend a pope’s funeral and the sacred traditions observed when a pope dies by attending a 5,000-square-foot exhibit housed in a 10,000-square-foot expansion of the museum, which opened in 2008.
Today, the museum is developing new exhibitions and revising and expanding its present ones.
Amenities of the Museum
There is something here for everyone, from history buffs, scientists, and antique vehicle enthusiasts to art lovers, pop culture fans, and political connoisseurs. An extensive collection of funeral ceremony memorabilia may be seen here, as may exhibitions on one of the oldest cultural practices known to man.
Featuring items from the oldest profession in human history, the National Museum of Funeral History has been an educational and historic destination for visitors since 1992. Explore the biggest collection of funeral artifacts globally, spread over 30,500 square feet of exhibit space. It is the spot to go if you’re looking for something new and exciting to do. Fifteen exhibits are on display in the museum. There are many exhibitions, including these:
- Historical Hearses
- Japanese Funerals
- Presidential Funerals
- History of Embalming
- Reflections on the Wall
- 19th Century Mourning
- The History of Cremation
- Thanks for the Memories
- Marsellus Casket Company
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- 9/11 and Fallen Heroes Tribute
- Coffins and Caskets of the Past
- Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos
- A Life Well Lived: Fantasy Coffins from Ghana
- Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes
September 2018 is the date for the opening of the History of Cremation exhibit. It’s a first-of-its-kind exhibition that explores the history of cremation in the United States and Canada and the ongoing significance of cremation memorials.
For adults, students, and educators, the museum hosts a wide variety of educational programs that concentrate on elements of funerals ranging from biology, culture and social behaviors, chemistry, history, and craftsmanship of artifacts, vehicles, language, etc. An embalming school is also housed at the museum.
It’s fairly uncommon for visitors to express surprise that the museum, especially for young children, isn’t as morbid or dismal as they had imagined it to be. A special highlight of the funeral procession is the collection of beautifully maintained antique hearses.