“Spirited” Events

19th Century Death  & Mourning
at the Merchant’s House 2018


Photo by Hal Hirshorn

Photo by Hal Hirshorn


RESERVATIONS REQUIRED unless otherwise noted.
These events SELL OUT. Advanced online purchase highly recommended.
Click here to purchase tickets.


Thursday, October 4 – Monday, November 5
Exhibition –
A Good Death: 19th Century Lessons in Dying Well

Including rarely exhibited items of Tredwell family mourning dress and accessories from the collection.

Poignant recreated scenes of death and grief during the 19th century explore a time when families gathered by the bedside of the dying and funerals were held at home. Pay your last respects at family patriarch Seabury Tredwell’s deathbed upstairs, then join in the mourning in the double parlor, hung with black crepe and set with a coffin for his funeral. In the 20th century, with advances in medicine, hospitals became the place of death and many customs of dying, bereavement, and remembrance disappeared. Today, many of these customs are making a resurgence as a Good Death takes on new meaning.

NEW this year! 19th century postmortem portraiture from The Burns Archive and 21st century neo-conceptual artist Heide Hatry‘s posthumous portraits created out of human cremated remains: Icons in Ash.

We invite you to stage your own pre-postmortem photograph in our 19th century coffin. Then share with your friends on Instagram and Twitter #mhmcoffin2018.

Included with regular admission; reservations not required.


mean-girls1 ……

October Raffle … To Die For

Prizes include:

  • 2 Tickets to Tina Fey’s Emmy-Nominated Broadway Musical Mean Girls
  • Private In-The-Dead-of-Night Candlelight Ghost Tour & Paranormal Investigation
    (For you and three brave guests)
  • 2 Tickets to the Immersive Play The Bloody Deed of 1857 at the Historic Landmark Colonnade Row
  • A Case of blood-red Gnarly Head Wine

Raffle drawing will be held Monday, November 5.

Raffle Tickets are $5, 3 for $10, 7 for $20. Purchase tickets in the right sidebar.


Illustration by SJ Costello

Illustration by SJ Costello

NEW this year!
Wednesday, October 10, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Walking Tour: Edgar Allan Poe in Greenwich Village

With Boroughs of the Dead
Join us on a two-hour literary and historical walking tour that traces a path into Edgar Allan Poe’s life in Greenwich Village in the 1840s, where the author lived and worked at the height of his fame — before plunging irrevocably into the final, abysmal chapter of his short life. On this tour, you will visit the site his former home, learn of his contemporary rivals and admirers, and see where he wrote some of his most famous stories and poems. Interweaving some of his most famous tales with Greenwich Village’s macabre secret histories, this tour is guaranteed to enthrall fans of Poe’s literary grotesques while honoring his legacy in New York City.

This tour is approximately 2 hours in duration and approximately 1.5 miles in length. Runs rain or shine. Tour ends near West Third Street.

$25. Limited capacity. Reservations required. SOLD OUT!


An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe

NEW this year!
October 12 – October 31
Killing an Evening with Edgar Allan Poe:
Murder at the Merchant’s House

Join us in the museum’s Greek Revival double parlor as the masterful John Kevin Jones takes on the 19th century master of horror Edgar Allan Poe performing The Tell-Tale HeartThe Cask of Amontillado, and The Raven, as Poe himself did at the literary salons of the period. The double parlor will be appropriately dressed for death with a coffin and mirrors veiled in black crepe. It will be a bone-chilling evening of irrational revenge, obsession and premeditated murder, dismemberment, and the very, very dark.

Presented in association with Summoners Ensemble Theatre.
Limited engagement; tickets $18. Click here for performance schedule and more information.


photo by Hal Hirshorn

Sunday, October 14, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
“Sacred to the Memory:” 1865 Funeral Reenactment
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 family patriarch Seabury Tredwell.

NEW this year! After the funeral service, you’re invited to experience living (and dying) history at the Merchant’s House. Eliza Tredwell, assisted by her children, will receive guests in her bedroom upstairs. Come pay your respects to the grieving widow and talk with her about how death and dying were a natural and ever-present part of daily life.

In the double parlor, the Rev. Samuel Cooke will discuss funeral customs (undertaking was a relatively new occupation; this task would have fallen to Rev. Cooke himself). And in the kitchen, Bridget Murphy will pass out funeral biscuits and tell visitors just how much extra work a funeral made for the servants.

Mourners may also tour the museum and view the current exhibition, A Good Death: 19th Century Lessons in Dying Well. And stage their own pre-postmortem photographs in our 19th century coffin. Then share on Instagram and Twitter #mhmcoffin2018.

$35, $25 MHM Members. 19th century costumes encouraged. SOLD OUT!

New York City Marble Cemetery is participating in Open House New York 2018. The cemetery is open to the public on Sunday, October 14, 12 to 5 p.m., should you wish to visit before the funeral reenactment.  Visit www.ohny.org and www.nycmc.org for more information.


Danse Macabre

Thursday, 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. Limited capacity.


"Manhattan's Most Haunted House"

“#1 Most Haunted Place in NYC”
TimeOut New York

Friday, October 19 & Saturday, October 20
Wednesday, October 24 – Tuesday, October 30

50-minute tours begin every half hour from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Candlelight Ghost Tours of ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House’
(The New York Times)
Updated with the latest eerie happenings!

ALL tours include 4th Floor Servants’ Quarters!
Seven family members died in the house; their funerals were held in the double 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 unsettling occurrences, all from the people who actually experienced them.
$40, $25 MHM Members. ALL GHOST TOURS ARE SOLD OUT! Click here to join the wait list.



NEW this year!
At the Stroke of Midnight
Friday, October 19, & Saturday, October 20
Friday, October 26, & Saturday, October 27
Dead-of-Night Candlelight Ghost Tour & Investigation
With Paranormal Investigator Dan Sturges

On this special midnight candlelight ghost tour, join renowned paranormal investigator Dan Sturges on a real-time ghost hunt of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.” Mr. Sturges will lead you through the house at the darkest hour, discussing his methodology and sharing some of his most chilling experiences and eeriest findings. At the end of the tour, you can flex your own ghost-hunting muscles and see whether you capture any mysterious and otherworldly phenomena.
Tour is 75 minutes; capacity strictly limited to 20.
Doors open at 11:50 p.m.; NO LATE ENTRY once the tour begins at midnight. $100, $90 MHM Members.


reimagine end of life

Saturday, October 27 – Saturday, November 3
Reimagine End of Life New York
A week exploring big questions about life and death. Join us for a community-wide exploration of death and celebration of life through creativity and conversation. Drawing on the arts, spirituality, healthcare, and design, Reimagine End of Life is a week long series of events that break down taboos and bring diverse communities together in wonder, preparation, and remembrance. Reimagine End of Life envisions a world in which we are all able to reflect on why we’re here, prepare for a time when we won’t be, and live fully right up until the end. Click here for events and more information.


Photo Courtesy The Burns Archive

Thursday, November 1, 6:30 p.m.
The Art of Mourning: 19th Century Postmortem and Memorial Photography
Illustrated Talk by Elizabeth A. Burns

At the time of the birth of photography in 1839, death was a natural and pervasive part of everyday life and mostly took place at home. People used photography to memorialize their loved ones with a reverence little understood today; often these photographs were the only images the bereaved had of the deceased. They are testament to an era when the magic of photography offered the hope of extending relationships. At the moment people were most vulnerable, photography offered a memento that seemed real — a tangible visual object that allowed continued closeness to the deceased. We can feel the power of these photographs generations after the images were made. We relate to these pictures of strangers because they speak a universal language of emotions — tenderness, affection, need, hope, loss and despair — uniting the human family in common experience.
$20, MHM Members $10. Click here to purchase tickets.

Elizabeth A. Burns is the Creative and Operations Director of The Burns Archive, which houses over one million historic photographs from the birth of photography through the atomic age. She co-authored Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement & The Family in Memorial Photography, American and European Traditions produced in conjunction with the Musée d’Orsay exhibition, Le Dernier Portrait. She has curated and worked on hundreds of exhibits, publications and films on memorial photography. Liz lives in New York City and actively promotes history and photography through publications, exhibitions and events. www.burnsarchive.com


Icons in Ash by Heide Hatry

Gertrude Tredwell (1840-1933) and Emily Jordon Boxer (1928-1994), portraits made out of cremated remains by Heide Hatry

Friday, November 2, 6:30 p.m.
Icons in Ash: Contemporary and Historic Mourning Practices
Presentation by Heide Hatry and Zoë Crossland

In the 19th century, mourning practices and remembrances, such as postmortem photography and hair jewelry, were closely linked to the physical remains of the dead. By the 20th century, as death became more medicalized and no longer took place in the home, mourning became less focused on physical connections with the dead body and more on memories. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the material traces of the dead, particularly in relation to cremated remains.

In this presentation, artist Heide Hatry and Professor Zoë Crossland reflect on contemporary mourning practices, what they share with older and abandoned traditions, and where they differ. What might this tell us about changing attitudes to death and mourning in the modern world? Free. Reservations required. This event is at capacity.

Heide Hatry is a New York based German artist best known for her performance work, her conceptual work using unconventional materials, and her collaborative conceptual artist’s books. Her most recent body of work, Icons in Ash (2017), consists of portraits made from the cremated remains of their subjects, a social art project that has made a contribution to a re-imagining of our relationship to the dead.

Zoë Crossland is Director of the Center for Archaeology and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University. Her research and published work explore the problems of archaeological and forensic evidence and archaeology’s relationship to the dead body. Her current project, The Speaking Corpse, explores the evidence of the forensic corpse, the ways in which it is explained for popular consumption, and the history that lies behind the treatment of the dead as evidence.


RESERVATIONS REQUIRED unless otherwise noted.
These events SELL OUT. Advanced online purchase highly recommended.
Click here to purchase tickets.