Because my friend, Jill Martin, had alerted me to the worth of this unique museum, Mickey and I made it a point to drive to it after being at the Abraham Lincoln Tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery [the museum is nearby]. Much to our disappointment, when we walked up to the door of the museum, a sign read, "CLOSED"! We did not know why it was closed until we visited Shea's Gas Station Museum. The son Bill told us that they were not a tax-supported museum and thus depended on the nominal admission fee received from tourist. Evidently, they were not generating enough tourist traffic to support the place.
That is so sad because everything I read about it had said "If you plan to visit Springfiel, the Museum of Funeral Customs is a MUST SEE!"
It's appropriate that it's located near Springfield's historic Oak Ridge Cemetery because it has displays concerning the history of funerals in the United States. It also traces the development of the American funeral profession. My friend had told me that the exhibits are done in a tasteful manner and are also quite educational.
The tour was self-guided, but the knowledgable staff could answer any question you might have.
There are artifacts that include caskets, embalming equipment, hearses, tombstones, mourning clothing and jewelry. They display a detqiled Lincoln funeral scene from the former Illinois Capitol Building and points out the entire funeral from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois.
Another plus about this museum was the fact that they let you take photographs! Hopefully, if they have enough interest, they will reopen.
July and August are very difficult times of the year to find a hotel room in Springfield. Between the Junior National Rodeo in late July and the state fair in August, you should call well ahead if you plan to stay in town at this time of year.
Some of the people around here drive like maniacs, tailgating, or worse, they drive really, really S-L-O-W and drive the rest of the world crazy!