The National Museum of Funeral History houses the country’s largest collection of funeral service artifacts and features renowned exhibits on one of man’s oldest cultural customs. The Doherty Library is pleased to have the opportunity to host a subset of the Museum’s Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes exhibit, on display now through October 19th. Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popesis a product of three years of intense collaboration between the Vatican and the National Museum of Funeral History. The display at Doherty features intricate replicas of papal attire, provided by the Pope’s personal tailor shop, Gammeralli’s. The display also details papal funeral customs that have been in place for centuries by examining the most recent papal funeral, that of Pope John Paul II. Publications by John Paul II and information about his impact on the world are also highlighted.
In addition to the papal history pieces, the display also features correspondence and planning documents surrounding the design and implementation of this unique exhibit. These records provide a glimpse into the level of collaboration and planning that is required to turn an initial idea for a 10×10 ft display into the 5,000 square foot exhibit in place today.
The exhibit certainly will be of interest to those with an interest in John Paul II and papal history, but it also serves those with broader interests in the ways funeral rites vary in different cultures. Additionally, the exhibit provides a practical example of the project management skills and coordination required to bring this window into the Vatican to Houston.
The display is available for viewing during library hours. Visit the Museum of Funeral History’s website to learn more about the full exhibit: http://www.nmfh.org/exhibits/papal/info.php