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A Beautiful Mourning

Our options for visiting a traditional haunted house were pretty slim this year, but luckily Heritage Square Museum came through. This year, they brought their traditional Victorian mourning fair outdoors, so we decided to pay a little visit.

heritage square museum

The museum itself is a series of historic buildings situated within a park in Los Angeles.

heritage square museum

heritage square museum

It was basically made for Halloween. The mourning fair this year was made up of a series of exhibits that were all staffed by people who were really knowledgeable about their respective subjects. The nice thing about it being outside is that you could meander the grounds and visit each exhibit in the order of your preference. The booths themselves consisted of such wonderfully macabre topics as:

Spirit Photography

heritage square museum spirit photography

heritage square museum ectoplasm




heritage square museum pharmacy

There were other exhibits that covered fortune telling, seances, mourning practices, and even Dia de los Muertos, and more.

Being socially distance minded, the tickets were all staggered by time this year, so the park was never really busy which was nice because you could engage with the staff and ask plenty of questions without being that person.

There was even a mock cemetery that highlighted Victorian burial practices.

victorian hearse

heritage square museum cemetery

I found this section to be really interesting as it explained a lot of the iconography found on Victorian grave markers as well as how the Victorians interacted with their cemeteries.

heritage square victorian grave

cemetery picnic

I remember taking a family vacation to New England long ago and being fascinated by the old cemeteries there. They looked totally different from the Forest Lawn-esque cemeteries we have here in SoCal. The markings on the old grave stones had a very esoteric feel to them with the imagery that adorned them- almost occult.

heritage square museum grave

It was a great way to spend an afternoon and you don't often leave a haunted house with the feeling that you learned something. They even had a portrait artist who made this amazing drawing of my daughter:

heritage square museum portrait

heritage square museum drawing

If you're in the LA area, I definitely recommend visiting this next year. I imagine it's even better in the context of the beautiful old homes. They even do ghost tours in the homes, which one of the docents assured me was haunted, and those are going on regularly even with the pandemic.

Well, it's been an interesting year for sure, but I hope that you are also finding new ways to keep the Halloween spirit alive. As always, thanks for visiting.

October 30, 2020

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