This book provides a comprehensive examination of death, dying, and human remains in museums and heritage sites around the world.

Presenting a diverse range of contributions from scholars, practitioners, and artists, the book reminds us that death and the dead body are omnipresent in museum and heritage spaces. Chapters appraise collection practices and their historical context, present global perspectives and potential resolutions, and suggest how death and dying should be presented to the public. Acknowledging that professionals in the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) fields are engaging in vital discussions about repatriation and anti-colonialist narratives, the book includes reflections on a variety of deathscapes that are at the forefront of the debate. Taking a multivocal approach, the handbook provides a foundation for debate as well as a reference for how the dead are treated within the public arena. Most important, perhaps, the book highlights best practices and calls for more ethical frameworks and strategies for collaboration, particularly with descendant communities.

The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Heritage, and Death will be useful to all individuals working with, studying, and interested in curation and exhibition at museums and heritage sites around the world. It will be of particular interest to those working in the fields of heritage, museum studies, death studies, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, and history.

chapter |8 pages


part 1|84 pages

Acquisition, Curation, and Conservation of the Dead

chapter 3|14 pages

A Museum Archive

An Unexpected Final Resting Place but One Full of Promise

chapter 4|14 pages

Striking a Balance

Preserving, Curating, and Investigating Human Remains from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily

part 2|82 pages

Displaying the Dead

chapter 7|9 pages

Education, Preservation and Reconciliation

The J.L. Shellshear Museum and the Preservation and Display of Human Remains

chapter 8|16 pages

The Mummies of Guanajuato

The Tension between Ethics and Ambition

chapter 9|10 pages

The Cost of Civil Rights

Loss, Grief, and Death at US Civil Rights Museums

chapter 10|23 pages

Changing People, Changing Content

New Perspectives on Past Peoples

chapter 11|11 pages

Transforming Memento Mori

A Contemporary Lens

chapter 12|11 pages

The Hollywood Museum of Death

The Commodification of the Maiden, Criminal and the Corpse

part 3|97 pages

Decolonisation and Shifting the Perspective in Museums and Heritage

chapter 13|14 pages

Papuan Pasts

The Origins of Papuan Human Remains Collections in the World's Museums, the Issue of Repatriation, and Telling New Stories with Skeletal Data

chapter 17|21 pages

Egyptian Mummified Remains

Communities of Descent and Practice

chapter 18|13 pages

The Curated Ossilegium

Museum Practices as Death and Mourning Rituals

part 4|87 pages

Deathscapes and Heritage

chapter 19|17 pages

From Dead Places to Places of the Dead

The Memorial Power of Battlefields, Ruins, and Burials in the Warscapes of Spain and the Western Front

chapter 20|14 pages

From Trauma to Tourism

Balancing the Needs of the Living and the Dead

chapter 21|12 pages

Death, Memory, and Power

Public Memorial Culture of Moscow Necropolises

chapter 22|18 pages

Not Their Heritage Theme Park

Honouring the Outcast at Crossbones Graveyard

chapter 23|11 pages

The Ghosts of Kūkai

Virtual Heritage and Landscapes of Death in Japan's Shikoku Pilgrimage

chapter 24|13 pages

A Shadow Pandemic

Protest, Mourning, and Grassroots Memorialization in Mexico City

part 5|67 pages

Public Education and Engagement in Museums and Heritage

chapter 25|12 pages

Engagement That Works

Practical Insights for Inviting the Public into Cemeteries

chapter 26|14 pages

Talking about the D Word

Public Engagement in a Place of the Dead

chapter 28|14 pages

Haunted Houses and Horrific History

Ghost Tours at Historic House Museums

chapter 29|12 pages

Walking, Public Engagement, and Pedagogy

Mobile Death Studies

part 6|76 pages

Death Studies and Heritage in Practice

chapter 33|13 pages

Close Encounters with Death and Disease

Young Visitors' Perspectives at the Mütter Medical History Museum

part 7|5 pages

Concluding Remarks