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Museum of Early Trades & Crafts presents GHOSTS, GHOULS & GRAVESTONES: The Trades of Burial

The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts in Madison presents GHOSTS, GHOULS & GRAVESTONES: The Trades of Burial an exhibition on view through February 14, 2014.

Passing from this world was once a family affair, with immediate members attending to the dying, and then assembling any funerary equipment.

Over time, the process spread through the social and economic ties of the community. From the Colonial era to the late Victorian era, the funeral industry emerged as a trade in its own right. Funeral services included preparation of the body, providing a coffin or casket; digging the grave, and carving the gravestone.

The eastern United States has a long standing tradition, brought over from Europe, of marking graves with stones. Over time, the symbols, styles and materials of grave markers changed.

The earliest stones were hand carved from sandstone or brownstone using chisels and mallets. Regions with readily available marble gradually transitioned to that, which unfortunately does not survive as well since acid rain erodes marble.

In addition to stone carving tools, the exhibit will also feature Victorian era mourning jewelry and photographic ornaments in which postmortem photos were replicated on ceramic brooches and pendants.

Exhibit Tours and Lectures Advance registration is recommended for all – call 973-377-2982 x13