Explore the Phelps Mansion Museum after dusk, and discover the Gilded Age’s attitude towards death & mourning
Mark Twain once referred to death as “the impartial friend… the immortal who treats us all alike.” For those in the late 19thcentury, this impartial friend tended to visit with staggering frequency. This caused people to develop its fair share of the macabre such as photographs of the dead, hair wreaths, stories (e.g. Shadows from the Walls of Death), and did three knocks at the door really signal death to come?
There were certain rules and regulations for mourning that developed during this culture of death. People in mourning could not attend societal functions, and were usually isolated. Widows wore black dresses and garments for up to two years after the loss of a husband. Wreaths woven from hair of the deceased memorialized loved ones, and were often displayed in the parlor for visitors to admire. Furthermore, these hair wreaths were a way of documenting family members like a family tree.
Learn about superstitions and funeral customs by joining us on this fateful night.