Victorian Mourning Customs

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Gone But Not Forgotten: Victorian Mourning Customs

2017 Dates: OCTOBER 28, NOVEMBER 5, 11, 12
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Each October, Hearthside, and all of its volunteers, get draped in black, giving all who pass by the message that this is a house in mourning. The occasion is the wake and funeral of former Hearthside owner, Simon E. Thornton, who died on May 2, 1873. His body was prepared at the house by the undertaker, who came with his equipment and a portable embalming table. The coffin was displayed in the Drawing Room where visitors would come and pay their respects. Following the ceremony, the coffin would be carried out of the house and into a waiting hearse to bring it to the gravesite for burial.

Hearthside re-creates the Victorian mourning customs practiced during the time when Simon Thornton passed away, with displays in each room of the house that include mourning clothing, mourning clothing, jewelry, artwork, stationery displays, post mortem photography, and other funerary exhibits. To kick off the inaugural exhibit in 2012, a funeral ceremony was featured, complete with an 1868 hearse.
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