Acadian Museum exhibit explores rituals of death

Just in time for Halloween, Moncton's Acadian Museum is featuring something from the dark side. "Always loved, never forgotten" is the name of its latest exhibit, featuring traditions and rituals surrounding death in early 20th century Acadia.

The 'Always loved, never forgotten' exhibit looks at Acadian traditions from early 1900s

New exhibit at Acadian Museum in MOncton 1:56

Just in time for Halloween, Moncton's Acadian Museum is featuring something from the dark side.

"Always loved, never forgotten" is the name of its latest exhibit, featuring traditions and rituals surrounding death in the early 20th century in Acadia.

Some of the imagery in the exhibit might feel a little ominous, but Bernard LeBlanc, the museum's curator, says the exhibits show less of a superstitious culture than one of respect.

"In Acadian homes within the late 19th century, the walls were decorated with mostly religious illustrations," he says.

"They have montages of pictures with the diseases with the coffin handles. Sort of in the same religious vein you could say, but definitely respectful." 

Jeanne Mance-Cormier helped acquire a wax cross, which is entangled with flowers made from human hair, that is now on display. 

"By having this piece with different hair from different family members, I think it became a nice piece and having it under a dome, I think, represents a keep, something that you wanted to showcase in your parlour at home and to keep memories of all those who passed away," she said.

This artifact is in memory of an Anna Duguay, wife of Alf LeBoutillier, who died on June 8, 1910 at the age of 26.

The New Brunswick Museum repaired cracks and did preservation work on tiny papers that identified whose hair was was on what vine in the exquisite memento.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.