Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Exhibition Of Death And Mourning In Victorian America

The Kiss of Death 
An Exhibition of Death & Mourning in Victorian America

Come one and all! This is your final opportunity to have a guided and animated tour entitled “The Kiss of Death” narrating the end of the Bridgehampton Historical Society’s current exhibition featuring the customs and practices surrounding death & mourning in the mid to late 19th century. This final ‘Curator’s Talk’ will be given by the society’s popular and knowledgeable Archivist and Curator, Julie Greene, and will take place Thursday, February 16th, at 11am. Reservations can be made by calling the society at (631) 537-1088, or emailing them at

On exhibit are materials depicting Victorian mourning customs based on a strict set of rules that upper and middle class families strove to follow. The responsibility fell mainly on widowed women, who were expected to grieve for as long as two and a half years. Their clothing often progressed through several stages of mourning.

Homes were also decorated in times of mourning. Black crepe draped on the front door was the solemn symbol that a household was mourning the loss of a loved-one, and throughout the home mirrors and paintings were covered or draped in black.
Great Britain’s Queen Victoria, devastated by the premature death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861, remained in mourning for the remaining forty years of her life. Her immense popularity among Britons and Americans created a “cult of mourning” on both sides of the Atlantic that survived the Queen’s own death by decades.

Visitors to the Corwith House Museum will experience a re-creation of this era. Throughout the museum period artifacts, artwork, and mourning fashions and jewelry will illustrate Victorian customs associated with death, grief and condolences.
-From The Bridgehampton Historical Society web site

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