The Royal B.C. Museum will host students from Camosun College and the public to explore Victorian era funeral rituals on Saturday. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Camosun students, Royal BC Museum to bring Victorian funeral rituals to life

Free with museum admission or membership

Funeral rituals from the Victorian era will be on display in the streets of the Royal BC Museum’s Old Town and Helmcken House on Saturday, Nov. 23. Locals are invited to participate in a number of interactive exhibits created by students at Camosun College. All activities are free with museum admission or membership.

The interactive exhibits take place in the streets of the museum’s Old Town from 1 p.m. Next, revellers can walk through to Helmcken House where a recreation of a Victorian wake will be performed by Camosun anthropology students from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

READ ALSO: With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Students in Nicole Kilburn’s Anthropology of Death class are partnering with the museum to explore historical aspects of death. These include post-mortem photography, headstone engravings, memorial stationary, the use of clairvoyants, hair jewelry, mourning clothes, and the economy of death.

The funeral recreation will focus on the death of a fictional man of British descent and the rituals associated with his culture, and socio-economic status. Students will also explore other perspective on death in the B.C. community in 1900, such as perspectives of Chinese immigrants and First Nations.

Camosun’s schools of Health and Human Services, and Trades and Technology will also help make this Victorian funeral come to life. First Memorial Funeral Services donated a casket to be used in the funeral, and Helmcken House’s parlour will be decorated in accordance with Victorian era funeral traditions.

“We’ll have crepe-covered mirrors and [a clock] stopped at the time of death as well as a casket with a mannequin dressed in funerary attire,” Kilburn said. “Students have learned that the Victorians left the windows open so that the spirit could leave and that a boxwood wreath on the door communicated to the community that a death had occurred.”

Student organizer Laurel Hanson said she appreciates the opportunity to immerse herself in her studies. “This type [of] applied learning gives me concrete skills and has also resulted in a volunteer position at the museum,” Hanson said. “I would never have had this opportunity without this project.”

Kilburn said Victorians were “much more familiar with death in their everyday experience” because of higher infant mortality rates, women dying during childbirth, and deaths caused by unsafe working conditions.

“It wasn’t that people feared death less, but there was more familiarity with it. The dead were still tended to in the home rather than these roles being outsourced. Death touched a family earlier and more often than today, and it was memorialized in very particular ways,” Kilburn said.

The public are invited to attend, to be curious, and ask questions while being respectful of the solemn nature of the topic.

READ ALSO: Camosun’s continuing education site a quick hit

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

Just Posted

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Peninsula Panthers jump into first place with win over arch-rivals Victoria Cougars

Cougars beat the Panthers in all three previous games before Sunday’s 2-1 victory

Crash backs up northbound lanes of Pat Bay Highway

Drive BC warns of heavy congestion along busy route

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read