HOUSTON (KTRK) --With more than 30,500 square feet of exhibit space, The National Museum of Funeral History, located in north Houston, is the largest museum of its kind in the United States and the world.
Thousands of visitors each year explore the Museum's 13 permanent exhibits on a broad spectrum of funeral-related topics ranging from the ancient embalming rituals of Egypt to remembering celebrities and public figures.
"A lot of people are expecting to see something morbid or a little bit scary," said museum president, Genevieve Keeney. "But once they walk through the doors, they realize this place is truly full of history and well preserved artifacts from all over the globe."
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The idea for the Museum began decades ago with Robert L. Waltrip's dream of establishing a place to preserve the heritage of death care, including how it began and how it has evolved over time.
This unique experience allows visitors to see everything from a collection of historical hearses and caskets starting from the 1800's, to learning about the history of embalming.
The International Hall starts with Rome in collaboration with the Vatican, for the hallmark exhibit that celebrates the lives and deaths of the Popes.
The Latin American "Day of the Dead" Exhibit is a religious celebration honoring the souls of our departed loved ones. The Prestigious Presidential Exhibit is where you can see George Washington's original eulogy, death certificate and funeral bill.
For the past 25 years the Funeral Museum has grown in space and popularity. One of the most beloved exhibits among visitors is "Thanks for the Memories" which provides an up-close and personal look at the grand farewells to some of the world's most iconic figures. On display are printed memorial folders and memorabilia used in the funeral services and burials of Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Jim Henson, Whitney Houston, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne and others, along with tributes to more recently deceased personalities, such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Walker and Robin Williams.
"It's really an experience like no other," said Keeney.
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