Established in 2014, Simpson Funeral Museum is located in historic Chatham, Virginia in what was the town’s first undertaking parlor. Chatham Furniture and Undertaking Company was built in 1898 on Main Street and we have preserved the original tin ceilings and beautiful hardwood floors in our pursuit of being the east coast’s premier funeral history destination. Our two big showpieces are an 1876 horse-drawn carriage hearse and a mint-condition, award-winning 1941 Packard Henney Hearse. We have a supreme collection of one-of-a-kind antiques from American funeral history dating back to 1848 including a Fisk iron coffin, a National seamless copper deposit, a Belmont Masterpiece, along with original Marsellus 700, 703, and 710 hardwood caskets. Our collection also includes countless ephemera related to funeral homes and casket companies dating back to the 1800s, coffins, burial vaults and we even have a full-size antique embalming room area.
Our museum was set up and designed by Mr. Bill Simpson, a 1971 graduate of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, who has enjoyed over 50 years in funeral service. His passion for all things funeral related is reflected in our beautiful space and is now dedicated to celebrating and honoring the history of the funeral profession. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization, therefore relying on donations to continue in our mission. You can become a permanent part of our museum by becoming a member of our Honored Benefactor wall, honoring or memorializing a loved one or an organization and your donation is 100% tax deductible.
We do all tours by appointment and especially love tour groups from schools, churches, and especially funeral homes. Please visit our Facebook page to see hundreds of pictures of all of our display items and to interact with us. We look forward to your call or email to set up a tour appointment and we cannot wait to walk you back in time through the history of American funeral service, paying tribute to the profession we love.
Preserving our heritage for posterity…
The Simpson family