Scared to Death: North Hollywood’s Museum of Death

By: Kit Radley ’21 and Tiffany Mar ’21 (Guest Writers)

Beware, fore if you are not careful, this museum could be your last. This museum is not for the faint of heart, and many people end up turning away at the door. With this in mind, get ready to learn what the Museum of Death has in store.

The Museum of Death was originally founded in 1995 by JD Healy and Cathee Shultz in what was once San Diego’s first mortuary (morgue). It opened as an art gallery of serial killer artwork, but the co -founders realized the void in “death education” and sought to expand their gallery. The original museum was shut down because of controversial reasons based on the content of the museum, but it reopened at 6031 Hollywood Blvd. in 2008 and is still going strong.

The museum’s newer location houses the largest collection of serial killer artwork, information on many different serial killers (including the famous Charles Manson), replicas of execution devices, a body bag and coffin collection, autopsy instruments, real footage of cult recruiting videos and autopsy videos, taxidermy, and more.

One of the interesting exhibits is on the serial killer Ed Gein. Ed Gein, also known as the Butcher of Plainfield, was tried for two counts of murder and grave robbing. Gein stole bodies and cut body parts off and wore them around his house. Ed Gein’s murders were in order to get “fresh” skins to use. This exhibit is made up of multiple photos of his victims, and some police records of his murders.

The Museum of Death does not have an age requirement based on the fact that ‘everyone dies’, but it has many disclaimers to prepare people for the gruesome deaths and graphic images inside. It has an entrance fee of seventeen dollars, and there are no refunds if you decide to hang back while the rest of the group goes in, you will have to wait outside, or leave the building.

The tours are self-guided, and once you get inside the building, and it can get crowded very quickly. Most people spend forty-five minutes to an hour touring, but people are welcome to stay however long they like (if they can stomach it).  

The Museum of Death’s main goal is to educate people on death and make people thankful to be alive. Freshman Kit Radley says the museum was “cool, creepy, and a little disturbing”. Rest in peace if thou shalt go to the Museum of Death!


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