Across all cultures, the desire to commemorate loved ones is as old as death itself. This is seen in paintings, effigies, death masks, cards, coffin plates, embroideries, tokens, and photographs. In these commemorations, representations of death, such as drums, clocks, waterfalls, clouds and forget-me-nots are recurring symbols. On exhibit are original nineteenth-century memorial photographs and ephemera utilizing this iconography.
In the mid-nineteenth century, photography's earliest years, death was a natural part of everyday life. Postmortem photographs are special mementos with deep meaning for mourners. The human bond, our connection with others, is a strong guiding emotion and thus influences our fears and our actions. These images represent confrontation with our loved ones' mortality, as well as our own.
The Burns Archive houses over one million historic photographs from the birth of photography through the atomic age and is best known for providing photographic evidence of forgotten, unseen and disquieting aspects of history. The Burns Archive was instrumental in bringing attention to memorial and postmortem photography.
NOTE: No RVSP required. This event is FREE with museum admission ($15 general, $10 seniors/students)