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Peoples Mortuary Museum

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email
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UPDATE: 10:35 AM 10-16-13

This story is not about Halloween. It's about history, the dark history of death, hearses and funerals – the funeral business.

Don't expect ghouls and goblins.

"People sometimes, certainly in October feel that they're going to see a Halloween display but that's not at all what we do,” says Bill Peoples, owner of Peoples Mortuary Museum and Cawley and Peoples Funeral Home in Marietta.

Get a look at what dying was like back then.

"After they come through they begin to appreciate what times were like and how they used to deal with death,” Peoples says.

Things were done differently by today's standards, especially around the turn of the century.

According to Peoples, "there weren't funeral homes, everything was done in the family home,” from the embalming process to the visitation to the funeral itself.

Usually space was made for the deceased in the family cemetery.

"It's just a few yards away from the home and those things have all changed drastically,” he says.

The museum is a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours.

"When people come through overwhelmingly they begin to appreciate the fact that we have these things on display and we show a bit of the history,” Peoples says. “(And) we do it tastefully."

They have many repeat customers.

"Or at least folks who tell their friends and neighbors about it. We have folks from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and all over that have come through the museum,” he says.

It won't cost you a thing.

He says they just do it out of a love of their profession.

The museum is located behind the chapel at 408 Front Street in Marietta. Please call ahead to schedule a tour at 740-373-1111.
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This story is not about Halloween.

It's about history, the dark history of death, hearses and funerals and the funeral business.

Bill Peoples, owner of Peoples Mortuary Museum and Cawley and Peoples Funeral Home in Marietta, says this time of year people expect to see a Halloween display, but that's not what they do.

He says those who come through the museum begin to appreciate what times were like back then and how they used to deal with death.

"Done completely different by today's standards," Peoples says. "It was a lot different around the turn of the century. There weren't funeral homes, everything was done in the family home -- the embalming process, the visitation and the funeral itself."

He says often people were buried in the family cemetery, which was just a few yards from the home.

Embalming began during the Civil War and by the early 20th century, many religious communities had their own funeral directors to take care of the dead.


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