Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Jaded Viewer Pictogram: The National Museum of Funeral History

I'm back! Did you all miss me? Please say yes and I will give you some bacon. OK, I'm all out of bacon so instead my gift to you all is a pictogram of one of the most absurd yet intriguing places I visited while I was roadtripping through Texas.

According to Buzzfeed, the National Museum of Funeral History is the #1 Most Unnecessary Museum. It may be unnecessary but it was oddly mesmerizing. The pictures will tell the story but first a little back story.

Insano Steve and I are baseball fanatics. And we decided for our possible final "Baseballpalooza" (this version is #10) we'd go to Texas visiting Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. Texas to us is the frontier and we knew we had to brave the sweltering heat to check off 2 more stadiums off our list. In doing so, I totally missed a tweet from CTK @ Planet of Terror, my online bizarro counterpart in Dallas for a meetup. (Next time dude!) Also, seems the site has a few fans from Texas and if I had time to down a beer with all of you I would have.

How did I find this museum? Various sites of weirdness but Trip Advisor guided the way. If there was one thing I could share that was remotely horror-ish, it had to be this museum. It's in North Houston oddly in the middle of nowhere suburbia. After entering, I gleamed we were not the only curious folks but a mass funeral had taken place...but upon closer inspection it was a bunch of old people who seemed like corpses.

Who in God's name would visit such a morbid, depressing and creepy place?

Answer: Nobody!

Yup, Insano Steve and I were one of maybe 5 people at the museum (oddly there were 2 hot girls who must have thought this was the way to the mall). You're not getting a tourist-y NASA crowd here. It was old people and probably a few mentally ill patients. If this museum isn't the definition of what weird America is all about, I don't know what is.

So here you go, some pictures of this offbeat curiosity of a museum. I think it's best enjoyed when you're fully alive.

The picture above is of a "money coffin". I think it was Scrooge McDuck's.

A Houston Police officer gets lots of shiny things when they don't make it.

Inside a Japanese hearse. It's like the Yakuza of hearses.

Snow White's glass coffin. Sometimes a kiss doesn't cure shit.

An embalming table. Somebody had to invent this so we wouldn't see decomposing bodies during a funeral.

The Egyptians were the first funeral experts. Their mummy's would be proud (c'mon that was freakin funny!)

This coffin had an interesting story. In the early 1920s, a couple lost their child. So distraught by their loss, the parents contemplated a murder/suicide and asked a funeral director to build a coffin large enough to fit a father, mother and child. Oddly, they changed their minds at the last minute and did not go through with this insane idea. Later, after the father had past, the mother asked for a full refund from the funeral director.

[which begs the question, why didn't the funeral director notify the police of a pending murder/suicide??!?! I think in the 1920's everybody was totally drunk from bootlegged liquor]

Who wants to be buried in a boring, Walmart-ish like coffin? How about being buried in a boat coffin? A cow coffin? or even a crab coffin!

They had a special exhibit on the Pope and papal burial procedures. Fun Fact Time! The Pope gets buried in a coffin inside another coffin inside another coffin! Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

And finally............

Al Lewis aka Grandpa Munster's funeral program. Gotta love Grandpa.

Those are just some of the pictures I took at this most peculiar museum. They had copies of death certificates of the stars, a few hearses from the 1800s and from all over the world. They also had funeral practices in regards to the President as well as some odd coffins donated all across America.

It really seems totally unnecessary until you go see these exhibits and are amazed of the art and bizarreness of our death rituals. What can you say about this? I realized it's better to see a coffin from the outside rather than the inside. You kinda get more out of it..y'know?

The museum was $10 and is located at 415 Barren Springs Drive in Houston, TX. For more info, go here.

Here's a glimpse from the inside (video not by me)


  1. Sounds a lot more interesting than the old car museum we have a couple of miles from my house. They didn't have Jayne Mansfield's head lying around anywhere, did they?

  2. Great post!
    I'm "dying" over the cow, rooster, and crab coffins! Hahaha!

  3. Very, very cool!

    If I ever make it to Texas that will definitely be one of my destinations!

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