Springfield, Illinois: Museum of Funeral Customs (Gone)

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Was SE of Illinois State Fairgrounds, at the entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried.
Closed in early 2009.

Museum of Funeral Customs.

Museum of Funeral Customs

Collection of funeral artifacts, intended to "demystify" the industry -- and not to provide you with your cheap, sick little thrills.

Roadsideamerica.com Report... [10/19/2008]

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Funeral Museum Gets Coffin, Dumps Skeleton

The Museum of Funeral Customs in Springfield, Illinois, calls itself the second-largest funeral museum in America (trailing only the Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas.) In mid-October its curator was delighted to learn that a rare casket -- an 1870s-vintage model with a full-length glass top for viewing the body -- had been discovered in nearby Litchfield. The coffin had been hidden in a secret cupboard in an old building, and the Museum wanted it for its collection.


[11/04/2006] Complete News Story

Museum of Funeral Customs

"Death is only the beginning" is the motto of the Museum of Funeral Customs. The museum examines the history of funeral practices and mourning in the United States with a specific emphasis (as with all of Springfield, IL) on the mid 1800s and Lincoln.

Discover the difference between a "coffin" and a "casket." Learn about "home embalming" methods. There is a coffin set-up from a Roman Catholic funeral home so realistic that I started to kneel and do the sign of the cross. Watch a video on Lincoln's Funeral Train. Fantastic items in the gift shop, including t-shirts with the motto and chocolate coffins. What says "family fun" more than a visit to a museum focused on funerals?!

[Lauren Skerrett, 09/26/2006]

Replica casket of Abe Lincoln.

Museum of Funeral Customs

A new museum that showcases the history of American funeral service from 1840 to the present. Its major themes are: "The Art and Science of Embalming," "The Rise of the Profession," "The Funeral," and "Grief and Mourning in America." The Museum also has a collection of library material that dates dack to the mid-16th century. Exhibits include two horse-drawn hearses, a recreated embalming room from the 1920s, a home funeral circa 1870, a reproduction of Abraham Lincoln's coffin, scale models of Lincoln's railroad coach, and a ceremonial funeral arch erected for Lincoln's Chicago funeral. Visitors also see many styles of caskets and coffins, instruments, mourning clothing, and jewelry.

[Jon Austin, 04/24/2002]

1914 formal hearse built in St. Louis.

Museum of Funeral Customs - Casket Replicas of the Presidents

New museum owned and operated by Illinois Funeral Directors Association -- 3,500 square feet of exhibits, professionally operated. Contains instruments, chemicals, coffins, caskets, advertising, textbooks and photos. Re-created 1920s embalming room. Replica of Abraham Lincoln's casket. Re-created victorian parlor setup for a funeral. Duplicate of JFK's and Richard Nixon's caskets. Two full-size horse-drawn funeral hearses. Rotating exhibits as well.

[Jeff Hendricks, 03/26/2002]

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