Here we are, living nearly 20 years in the Houston area thinking we have seen it all, only to stumble onto the National Museum of Funeral History.
I find the irony in the way that this location sneaks up on me the way I correspondingly imagine death to work as well. Even if it is after a great deal of years and a lifetime of works, sudden is the word I most reliably associate at the end of one’s existence. In the famous words of The Isley Brothers’ “Ain’t I been good to you (Parts I & II)”; “For one day you’re here, and then you’re gone”.
What I believe that NMFH gets so very right is a celebration of life through displaying detailed and ornate arrangements which are standard in the funeral industry. The location is somewhat hidden from the main highway, but with a little ingenuity and/or Apple maps, you can find the large warehouse looking facility on the north side of town. Admission is relatively inexpensive and totally worth your time.
Exhibits include specific tributes to presidential, papal (as consulted on with representatives from Vatican City), celebrity, and international funeral practices. When #haveboomboxwilltravel visited, the “History of Cremation” exhibit was under construction and should now be open. Aside from minimal somewhat Scooby Doo Villain-esque papal recreations, the museum is more history than haunted house feeling.
What I expected in attending was a stuffy and possibly creepy experience. In reality, this museum is run by warm folks with a sense of humor who invite you to interact with the cultivation of their work. There are multiple “selfie spots” highlighted in the museum.
The gift shop is the entrance and exit for the exhibits, displaying cartoony statue/figurines that are skeletons in different costumes. As you walk in.
The track this week is My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade”. In a similar way to that which the museum embraces the reality of death, so does MCR in this Emo fueled record of ballads which use the illustrations of something macabre to establish an ethos.
I hope that you take the time to explore both gems in the museum and record, and taking special note of the Roy Rogers exhibit and the almost operatic vocals of the vinyl.
Stay tuned for an extra special announcement/contest this Wednesday.