Mourning in the Manse: WWPL explores Victorian funereal tradition

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library
Photo courtesy Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton has announced the return of Mourning in the Manse, a live virtual guided tour of President Woodrow Wilson’s birth home which will explore funereal traditions and memento mori popular during the Victorian era.

These unique live tours will be provided virtually on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are Pay What You Will.

To register, visit

During the Victorian era, the Staunton Presbyterian minister’s home (called The Manse) hosted wakes and funerals for deceased congregation members and their families. The Victorian symbolism was poignant and important- the body was on view for visitors, clocks were stopped, wreaths were hung on the doors, mirrors were shrouded, and hair from the dead was woven into jewelry –a piece of your loved one would be with you forever.

This tour will also explore the funereal traditions of the enslaved individuals who lived and worked in the Manse.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is an educational institution dedicated to the study of the life of President Wilson and times in which he lived. In addition to welcoming museum visitors from around the world, the Presidential Library produces online and in-person educational programming for people of all ages.

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