Morbid Curiosity in Museums and Historic Sites
Join Death Party Philadelphia on Sunday, February 24th, as we welcome Beth Savastana, Program and Volunteer Coordinator at Laurel Hill Cemetery! Drawing from her years of academic and professional experience, Beth will make the case for museum and historic sites using the display of human remains and other “morbid” content to generate interest and revenue. While acknowledging the valuable educational and cultural benefits associated with putting death on display, Beth will also examine the ethical debates that continue to surround these types of exhibitions. This meet is a must for any card-carrying Laurel Hill and Mütter Museum member, so don’t miss it!
Beth Savastana has embraced death starting at a young age with an obsession of mummies and archaeology. This led her to receive a B.A. in Archaeology from Lycoming College. Two years later she continued her education with an M.A. in Museum Studies from The University of Leicester in England. While there she chose her dissertation topic on museums derived from former medical collections and the educational and financial benefits that can come from displaying them today. Serendipitously, she began working at Laurel Hill Cemetery in 2014 and has been living her thesis since by helping the public get pumped about death in Victorian times and encouraging all to view cemeteries as beautiful museums…not places of fear and dread.
Do you folks follow our Death Party Twitter account? How about our Instagram? You should! We post all sorts of Death Positive stuff, pictures from our monthly meetings, re-tweets of death and death adjacent content and much, much more!
The Twitter: https://twitter.com/deathpartyph
We had an amazing year of programming at Death Party Philadelphia in 2018, with our monthly meetings covering diverse topics that span the death positivity community. We’ve discussed Death and Disability, Compassion Fatigue, Cemetery Semiotics, Human Taxidermy with tattooed skin, Dying (legislation) in Pennsylvania and even a screening of the feature documentary The Nurse with the Purple Hair (with exclusive introduction by iconic director Sean S. Cunningham and a Q&A with the film’s subject Michelle Lasota) and we still have one more Death Party Party of the year!
On Sunday, December 16th we’ll be meeting at our regular spot to bid farewell to 2018 with our annual holiday party and Secret Skeleton gift exchange- but that’s not all! We’ll be discussing 2019 programming and we’d love to round table topics and presenters for next year’s schedule.
If there’s a subject or presenter you think would fit our model, or if you’d like to speak at one of our monthly meetings, please join us and pitch the idea! We’re nothing without the voices of the Death Positive community, and we’d love to add your voice to our sometimes off key choir.
We can’t promise that we’ll have time in our calendar for every suggested topic but we’re ready to listen.
Ho ho ho!
It’s almost December, which means it’s almost time for SECRET SKELETON! Do you want to talk about death with a lively group of Death Positive folks? Do you want to exchange presents? Join us at DEATH PARTY PHILADELPHIA!
DPP’s Julia and Shawn Porter recently visited the West Coast, and spent a “death day” visiting Hollywood’s MUSEUM OF DEATH and HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY; the sheer size of which is hard to capture in a video like this, but they tried anyway!
Dark Tourism is defined as tourism involving traveling to places and events associated with death. From the coliseums in Rome, to the small town of Salem, Massachusetts, there is something that makes us want to visit places where something “dark” has happened. We’ve even created a Netflix original documentary series to help fill this need.
This presentation will dive into what exactly dark tourism is, why we as a largely death-phobic population feel drawn to visit these places, and what this increase of visitors means for local communities and their culture. All are welcome to come listen and encouraged to participate with experiences and opinions.
On Sunday, September 23rd, please join our featured presenter, Connor, as he walks us through the ins and outs of death related tourism. Doors open at 6pm. Event RSVP can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/343782049498997/
Connor Michalchuk has been a member of DPP since August 2017. By day, he manages a small boutique selling natural skincare and fragrances, and by night he’s a glamorous burlesque star and comedian. This will be his first presentation at DPP and he looks forward to sharing it with you.