There is an exciting and innovative exhibition due to hit Bristol Museum later this year! Death: The human experience, which opens in October 2015, will explore the various ways in which humans from around the world - and from different time periods - have approached the subject of death and dying. Featuring hundreds of objects from Bristol's world cultures, archaeology, natural sciences, social history and art collections, the exhibition will explore stories from different cultures from ancient times to modern day.
Amber Druce and Lisa Graves, Collection Officers for World Cultures, hope that the exhibition can help visitors learn from other perspectives:
"Many psychologists and bereavement counsellors believe that as a society we, and especially children, need to talk more about death to make it less scary. In this exhibition we’re looking to offer a communal, safe environment to address the issues and ethics around death and dying. Many cultures concentrate on celebrating the lives of deceased loved ones, most famously in Mexico, so it isn’t all doom and gloom!"
The Mexican Day of the Dead is just one of many themes explored in the exhibition, which also include Victorian mourning rituals, mummification, Buddhist watercolours showing death processes and ancestor worship, bespoke coffins and mourning clothes and jewellery. This thought-provoking exhibition raises scientific and ethical questions and acts as a platform for discussion about how people have responded to death creatively with music, humour, film and literature.
The preparation process of putting on the exhibition has been extensive, with the organisers speaking extensively to the public and to professionals from the death industry. This has resulted in an exciting public programme that will run alongside the exhibition including writing workshops, debates, theatre, film screenings, and day-schools.
Even the cost of the exhibition is innovative - visitors have the choice to pay what they think the exhibition is worth.
The exhibition runs from 24 October to 13 March 2016. I for one will definitely be visiting...and probably more than once!!!