DEATH and MOURNING at the Merchant’s House 2017
RESERVATIONS required for all events unless otherwise noted. Click here to purchase tickets.
Advanced online purchase highly recommended. These events sell out fast.
Saturday, September 30, 6:30 p.m.
Documentary Film Screening and Discussion –
In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye
In the 19th century, death was an integral and accepted part of life for families like the Tredwells, who held funerals for eight family members in their double parlor. When patriarch Seabury Tredwell died at home, in 1865, his wife, Eliza, and their children prepared and dressed the body for viewing and for burial, likely assisted by a “layer out of the dead” or an undertaker. With the rise of industrial society came the professional funeral director, who removed death care from the home.
In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye is both a critical look at America’s uncomfortable relationship with death and an inquiry into the growing revival of home death-care. The film takes viewers on an intimate journey into the lives of three families who have chosen to reclaim an active role in caring for their deceased as a more personal and fulfilling way to say goodbye. The film challenges us to reflect on how we view the experience of death, so often feared, denied, and left unspoken.
Heidi Boucher, filmmaker and home death care guide for over 30 years, wrote, directed, and produced In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye. A discussion will follow the screening (running time: 80 minutes).
$20, MHM Members FREE. Click here to purchase tickets. Members, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
Thursday, October 5 – Monday, October 30
“Truly We Live in a Dying World:” A 19th Century Home in Mourning
Including rarely exhibited items of Tredwell family mourning dress and accessories from the collection.
Step back in time to 1865, when family patriarch Seabury Tredwell died at home in his second floor bedroom. Poignant scenes of death and grief recreated in the House will explore mid-19th century mourning customs. Pay your last respects at his deathbed upstairs, or join the mourning in the double parlor, hung with black crepe and set for a mid-19th century funeral. And stage your own “postmortem” photograph in our 19th century coffin. Then share with your friends on Instagram and Twitter. #mhmcoffin2017
Also on exhibit, Tredwell family photographs and mourning attire and accessories, including jewelry made of hair and jet, a black net veil, several bodices and shawls, and two 1870s mourning gowns. Included with regular admission; reservations not required.
“#1 Most Haunted Place in NYC”
“Manhattan’s Most Haunted House”
Friday, October 13, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Mind Reading and Mysticism at the Merchant’s House (on the Unluckiest of Days)
With Mentalist Kent Axell
The year is 1865: the Civil War ends, Lincoln is assassinated, and the Tredwell family is in deep mourning after the death of patriarch Seabury Tredwell. These uneasy times fueled wide-spread belief in mysticism and the supernatural and wealthy New Yorkers like the Tredwells hosted neighbors and friends to showcase the latest in psychic entertainments. We invite you to join renowned mentalist Kent Axell in the family’s Greek Revival double parlor as he takes us back in time to experience mind reading, magic, and mystery. Whether he answers your sealed questions, reads your mind — or controls it — you’re guaranteed to feel the haunting touch of one of history’s most obscure, and awe-inspiring, art forms.
A reception with Mr. Axell follows.
$30, $40 VIP Seats, $20 MHM Members. Click here to purchase tickets.
Sunday, October 15, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
From Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment and Graveyard Procession
In the 19th century, death and funerals took place at home. Join us in the Museum’s double parlor as we recreate the 1865 funeral service of Seabury Tredwell and discuss the funerary customs of 19th century New York City. After the service, mourners follow the coffin to nearby New York City Marble Cemetery – rarely open to the public – for the graveside service and cemetery talk. 19th century mourning attire is encouraged.
VIP tickets include front-row seating, black armbands (and the opportunity to lead the graveyard procession as a pallbearer).
$40, $55 VIP Seats, $25 MHM Members. Click here to purchase tickets.
Wednesday, October 18, 7 p.m.
Chant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt
Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins haunt the lyrics of the 19th century. Come be spooked by these harrowing tales as the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society bewitches your imagination and sings shivers down your spine, echoing sumptuous, rarely performed songs in an authentic period parlor. Singers Anthony Bellov, Amy Gluck, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande. Music by Schubert, Liszt, Debussy, Duparc, Loewe, Mussorgsky, Humperdinck, and others.
75 minutes. $30, $20 MHM Members. Click here to purchase tickets.
Friday, October 20 & Saturday, October 21
Thursday, October 26 to Monday, October 30
Candlelight Ghost Tours of ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House’ (The New York Times)
Updated with the latest eerie happenings!
50-minute tours begin every half hour from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Seven family members died in the house; their funerals were held in the front parlor hung with black crepe. We invite you to venture into the dark and ghostly shadows of history by flickering candlelight to hear chilling tales of restless phantoms, voices calling into the night, and otherworldly occurrences from the people who actually experienced them.
New this year! ALL tours include 4th Floor Servants’ Quarters!
$40, $25 MHM Members. Click here to purchase tickets.
Tuesday, October 31, 6:30 & 8 p.m.
Tales from the Crypt: Horror on Hallowe’en
Patriarch Seabury Tredwell has died. His coffin sits in the front parlor surrounded by lilies and flickering candles; black crepe covers the mirrors. Join us for dramatic readings from the darkest of 19th Gothic literature and true ghost stories of the unsettling and unexplainable as reported by museum visitors. $25, $15 MHM Members. Click here to purchase tickets.
Wednesday, November 8, 6:30 p.m.
“Straight from My Heart to Thine:” A Reading of 19th Century Letters of Condolence
With death ever-present, condolence letters were mainstays of 19th century life, missives of comfort written straight from the heart. Join us in the Tredwells’ Greek Revival double parlor (where eight family funerals took place) for a reading of letters by Thomas Carlyle, Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and Queen Victoria herself. Funeral director Amy Cunningham will lead a discussion of modern condolence letter writing following the reading. “Mourning biscuits,” a staple of 19th century funerals, and light fare will be served in our 1850s kitchen.
Amy Cunningham is a Brooklyn funeral director who helps families with green burials, cremation services in Green-Wood Cemetery’s crematory chapels, home vigils, and other sorts of memorials. Her blog, where she discusses these topics, can be found at TheInspiredFuneral.com
$15; Members $10. Click here to purchase tickets.
RESERVATIONS required for all events unless otherwise noted.