While a museum devoted to funeral and cremation services might not seem like a must-see, you’d be surprised at how interesting (and fun) they can be. Whether you’re curious about the history of embalming, intrigued by mourning fashion in the 1800s, or just want to break away from the traditional art and sculpture mould, we’ve got a list of the best ones out there.
National Museum of Funeral History, Houston, Texas
Celebrating its 25th birthday, the National Museum of Funeral History serves as an American tribute to one of humankind’s oldest cultural rituals. Expect exhibits about famous funerals (presidents, popes, and pop culture icons), historical hearses, caskets and coffins, and plenty of other classical and contemporary displays. Learn about how different cultures mourn their dead, discover the details of embalming, and find out how social traditions of the past have influenced the way that we grieve today.
Tot Zover Funeral Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Established in 2007 adjacent to a century-old cemetery, Tot Zover is a modern museum devoted to the ways that the Dutch people approach the inevitability of death . Featuring stand-out exhibits such as a model of the first Dutch crematorium (cremation was long forbidden in the Netherlands), bold photography, and replicas of funeral livery, Tot Zover also boasts a lovely cafe and plenty of green space to explore.
The Coffin Works, Birmingham, England
Step back in time at the Coffin Works, a museum that brings the art of making funeral furniture back to life. Featuring original machinery that created fittings for the Queen Mother and Winston Churchill’s funerals, this space offers fascinating tours as well as live music, art shows, and festivals.
Funeral Museum Vienna, Vienna, Austria
With more than 250 original objects and photographs on display, Funeral Museum Vienna offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a fascinatingly curious world. Artifacts include clocks meant to avoid being buried alive, foldaway coffins, a funeral bill dating back to 1914, as well as plenty of audio/visual stations.