Goldsboro, NC Museum’s “Victorian Mourning Practices” Returns on Oct. 26

Victorian era casket and handler with Wayne County Historical Society. Source: Thomas Bailey
Victorian era casket and handler with Wayne County Historical Society. Source: Thomas Bailey

Victorian-era people were obsessed with death and burial. Learn the history of funerals and the darker side of late-1800s life during Victorian Mourning Practices event on Saturday, October 26, 2019, 6-9pm.

Presented by the Wayne County Historical Association, the evening immerses ticketed guests in a historical Victorian era home, complete with era-appropriate foods, live demonstrations, and artifact displays.

This is the second year for this unique event, which by the way includes a funeral “guest” arrival at 7pm. (No corpse, don’t worry.) This year the Museum plans are even bigger and better. The evening includes:

  • Guided tours through the downstairs exhibits
  • Tour of outdoor exhibits
  • Presentations on customs of Victorian funerals
  • A tintype photographer taking historically accurate photos ($40 each)
  • Spiced Cider and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Then-traditional funeral foods and funeral cookies (made from 1800s recipes)

Attendees are encouraged to wear Victorian clothing, although this is not required. Black outfits were believed to protect people at funerals, warding off the grim reaper. You might want to wear black to be “invisible to the specter of death.”

Presentations during last year’s mourning practices event delved into Victorian era terminology and its origins, including:

“Saved by the bell” — From the olden days when doctors might not truly know if you’re dead or not, and a coffin included a string and bell, in case you woke up underground and needed to be dug up.

“Graveyard shift” — Because of the above, one of your loved ones would sit near your grave on the first night you were buried, to listen in case your bell began to ring.

“Dead ringer” — A person who awoke in their grave, pulled the string from inside their coffin, and rang the bell so they could be exhumed before they really died.

There will be modern conveniences (restrooms) at the host location.

Victorian Mourning Practices will be held at the Weil House, 200 W Chestnut Street, Goldsboro, North Carolina — a home built during that unique era in history. In addition to providing a spooky-yet-educational evening, ticket proceeds benefit the Wayne County Museum.

Tickets may be purchased at the Wayne County Museum, 116 N William Street, Goldsboro, NC, and are available for $15 per person, discounted to $10 for students. A limited number are available. Don’t miss out!

With questions, call 919.734.5023.

Follow the Wayne County Museum’s Facebook page for updates.

Victorian Mourning Practices 2019 flyer. Source: Jennifer Kuykendall, Wayne County Museum
Victorian Mourning Practices 2019 flyer. Source: Jennifer Kuykendall, Wayne County Museum

The Wayne County Historical Society oversees the Wayne County Museum. The Mission of the historical society is: “To discover, preserve, document, display, and disseminate historical knowledge and artifacts of Wayne County. Wayne County Museum also seeks to increase public awareness of the heritage of Wayne County and its environs through exhibits, events, and traditional and digital information sources.” 

Membership in the Wayne County Historical Society, which oversees the Wayne County Museum, start with a basic/individual rate of $35; family membership is $50 per year. See more on the Museum’s website membership page, which includes descriptions of benefits.


Source: Jennifer Kuykendall, Wayne County Museum

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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.