The museum features the nation's largest display of historic funeral service memorabilia and artifacts with the tagline, "every day above ground is a good one."
The National Museum of Funeral History opened its doors in October 1992. The museum was founded by Mr. Robert L. Waltrip after 25 years of dreaming of an institution that would educate the public and preserve the rich heritage of the funeral industry.
1921 RockFalls Hearse
Built in Sterling, Illinois, this carved-panel hearse measures eight feet in height and more than 19 feet in length. The 4500 pound vehicle's hand carved body is composed of six types of wood. A 29-horsepower Continental "Red Seal" engine propels the vehicle. This restored hearse exemplifies the elegance of craftsmanship among hearse builders of the 1920s.
12 coffins on display at the museum were carved to resemble objects representative of the life of the deceased. The exhibition features coffins of a KLM Airliner, a Mercedes Benz, a Fish, a Fishing Canoe, a Leopard, a Chicken, a Bull, a Crab, a fish Eagle, a Lobster, a Shallot and a Yamaha Outboard Motor.These brightly colored and intricately designed wooden coffins were crafted by the Ghanaian sculptor Kane Quaye in his homeland and by members of his workshop in Accra, Ghana. Each of the coffins is designed to capture the essence of the departed--be it a character trait, an occupation or a symbol of one's standing in the community.
Civil War Embalming
The exhibition follows the work of Dr. Thomas Holmes, an embalmer during the Civil War.
1900s Casket Factory
Designed from original design plans and photographs, the NMFH Casket Factory was created to showcase the skill required for wooden caskets. The factory is filled with original casket factory artifacts in use until recently. Artifacts included in the factory range from handmade sanders to the sawdust located on the floor.
The museum is home to rare artifacts and interesting historical information about one of man's most important cultural rituals. Artifacts include an airtight solid glass casket, an 1860 German "Glaswagen" funeral coach, John F. Kennedy's Eternal Flame and a 1926 Sayers & Scovill Funeral Coach.
The museum is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 12 noon-4 p.m. Tours are offered Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.. Tours last one hour and cover most of the artifacts in the museum, as well as little known facts about funeral heritage.
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau - Member