If you’re fascinated by death and depravity, Los Angeles’ Museum of Death is a morbidly fascinating look at human (and animal) demise. I’d probably advise skipping breakfast, mind you…
As you – fittingly – step through the curtain, your first brush with death comes via that on-trend fascination that you’ve probably listened to a podcast about or watched a Netflix show on. Featuring a vast collection of materials from America’s most famous serial killers; you’ll be able to read letters and see artwork from the likes of John Wayne Gacy and David Richard Berkowitz (aka the Son of Sam killer). It’s actually a pretty easy introduction into a museum that goes pretty deep into the dark.
The Museum of Death was founded in 1995 in San Diego by J.D. Healy and Catherine Schultz, and began as a place to exhibit their collection of serial killer artwork. In 2000, they moved location to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Alongside this, they extended their collection to become the world’s most impressive physical collection of macabre merchandise.
After viewing some of the original serial killer exhibits, execution and embalming were just two things that greeted us in the coming rooms. The museum space is small, but the almost-overflowing collection spreads itself all over. It’s a self-guided tour, with plenty to read and look at along the way.
Among some of the more detailed exhibits, murderous cult leader Charles Manson has a whole room dedicated to his evils; and a chilling recreation of the Heaven’s Gate suicides is a shocking set piece. Want more? How about authentic shrunken heads, a room filled with taxidermied pets, clothes worn in an electric chair killing, and the history of coffins?
Some particular exhibits are definitely very harrowing, even for the most macabre-minded. Honestly, I had to quickly walk past the graphic photographs of suicides and couldn’t stare long at the images of vehicular homicide that lined the walls of one corridor.
But aside from the graphic imagery, there was a level of curiosity that I couldn’t surpress. Even if it’s just touching the surface with true crime, I think there’s a little bit of it in all of us. The Museum of Death just takes it to an extreme level…
It’s not for everyone, and it’s quite an experience – but if you’re drawn towards the dark side of life, the Museum of Death is an interesting way to spend an hour or so!
Museum of Death
6031 Hollywood Blvd, CA 90028