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“The History of Cremation,” a New Exhibit at the National Museum of Funeral History

Tuesday, August 11, 2015  
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Wheeling, IL and Houston, TX (August 3, 2016) – The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) and the National Museum of Funeral History are proud to announce a partnership in the creation of a special exhibit entitled “The History of Cremation.” 

Documenting the birth and growth of cremation in North America and promoting enduring themes of memorialization, this unique exhibit will feature artifacts donated by CANA members and items from the Museum's collection. Videos and interactive components will engage visitors in learning about cremation through the ages and how the individuals would like to be memorialized. 

The idea for a cremation exhibit, which has been in the works for several years, stems from numerous inquiries from museum visitors and industry professionals asking about when the Museum would host or create an exhibit on the subject of cremation. "The interest in learning more about this popular form of disposition is consistent,” said Genevieve G. Keeney, president and COO of the National Museum of Funeral History. “I am honored to be working with the members of CANA to design this exhibit to educate and validate the history of this funerary practice and showcase the future of its growing popularity." 

What started as a sanitary form of disposition has now evolved into a beautiful form of permanent memorialization, proving that public and professional perception of cremation has changed over time. “Today, we know cremation is the most popular form of disposition across the country,” said Robert M. Boetticher, Jr., CANA Past President, “so an exhibit about cremation could not come at a more ideal time.” 

“On behalf of the board of directors, this exhibit is long overdue and we are excited to bring CANA on board to help create this new addition to the Museum,” said Robert M. Boetticher, Sr., Vice Chairman/CEO of the National Museum of Funeral History. 

CANA has convened a task force of cremation experts to conceptualize the exhibit which will document the adoption of cremation through four eras of development including: 

Era One: Early Cremation in the United States (1876 and earlier-1925) 

Era Two: A Focus on Memorialization (1925-1975) 

Era Three: Movement Away from Memorialization and Toward Simplification (1975-2005) 

Era Four: Present Day Cremation (2005-present) The Sky is the Limit 

Members of CANA are encouraged to submit artifacts from these eras. Item sought include examples of cremation documents, literature, urns, tools and photographs and additional unique items that will further the understanding of the history of cremation and its impact today. 

Members of the task force include: 

Robert M. Boetticher, Jr. • CANA Past President; Director of Support, Carriage Services 

Jason Engler • CANA Historian; Funeral Director, Rollins Funeral Home 

Mark Matthews • CANA Past President; President, Wiefels Cremation & Funeral Service 

Scott MacKenzie • CANA Board Member; President, MacKenzie Vaults 

Dean Fisher • Director, UCLA Donated Body Program 

Barbara Kemmis • Executive Director, CANA 

Sara Corkery • Communications Manager, CANA 

Members of CANA or any other funeral industry professionals who are interested in donating artifacts to be considered for the exhibit are encouraged to submit a picture and brief description of the item(s) to Genevieve Keeney at and coordinate delivery directly with her and the Museum. 

For more information, please visit


About CANA 

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an international organization of over 3,300 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization. 

About the National Museum of Funeral History 

The National Museum of Funeral History houses the country's largest collection of funeral service artifacts and features renowned exhibits on one of man's oldest cultural customs. Visitors can discover the mourning rituals of ancient civilizations, see up-close the authentic items used in the funerals of U.S. Presidents and Popes and explore the rich heritage of the industry which cares for the dead. The museum is located at 415 Barren Springs Dr., Houston, TX 77090 and is open Monday – Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 12 pm – 5 pm. Admission is $10 for adults and children age 12 and older, $9 for seniors and veterans; $7 for children 3 – 11 years old; and free for children age 2 and younger. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook or call 281.876.3063