The National Museum of Funeral History was founded in 1992 by Mr. Robert L. Waltrip, who spent 25 years dreaming of an institution which would educate the public and preserve the heritage of death care. With over 35,500 sq. ft. of exhibition space, the Museum has since grown to become the largest educational center on funerary customs in the United States and perhaps the world.
In 2005, the Museum began collaborating with the Vatican for what would become its hallmark exhibit, Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes. A collection of authentic items were acquired for display, including the Popemobile used by Pope John Paul II in 1982, original uniforms worn by The Swiss Guard (responsible for the Pope's personal security) and vestments from the tailor shop in Rome which has clothed the last seven Popes. A 10,500 sq. ft. expansion was carried out to accommodate the exhibit, which included premium sound and lighting, three-dimensional scenes and audio/visual multi-media presentations providing visitors with a true sense of attending a Pope's funeral. The exhibit was opened to the public in 2008.
Today, the Museum continues in its mission to enlighten visitors on one of man's oldest cultural rituals and celebrate the rich history of funeral service.