Museum of Death

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Museum of Death
Hollywood Branch of Museum of Death
Established1995 (1995)
Location6031 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates34°06′06″N 118°19′16″W / 34.1018°N 118.3212°W / 34.1018; -118.3212
  • J. D. Healy (a.k.a. James Dean Healy)
  • Catherine Shultz

Museum of Death is a museum with locations on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.[1] It was established in June 1995 by J. D. Healy and Catherine Shultz with the museum's stated goal being "to make people happy to be alive."[2]

The museum was originally established in 1995 in San Diego,[3] in a building the owners claimed was the city's first mortuary. It began as a hobby of the founders J. D. Healy and Catherine Shultz. They would write to serial killers they were interested in, and then show off the artwork their pen pals had created once a year at a specialist show. In 1995, after a few years of exhibitions, the collection, and many other materials, were made into a museum.[4]

In late 1999, the couple attempted to acquire a large amount of materials from the Heaven's Gate cult suicides. Although they had been able to purchase many items prior to the main police auction, their interest in buying enough merchandise to recreate the scene in its entirety, led to enormous press interest and publicity. They were subsequently evicted by their landlord, and moved to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.[2]

Prior to the new Los Angeles building becoming a museum, the building was the home of Westbeach Recorders, and prior to that, Producers Studio,[1][5] where Pink Floyd and others recorded.[6] The walls include deadening agents to help with recordings, which now serve to lend a quiet acoustic setting for the various exhibitions.[1]

New Orleans branch[edit]

Musée de Mort Orleans
Established2014 (2014)
Location227 Dauphine St.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Coordinates29°57′22″N 90°04′11″W / 29.9560°N 90.0698°W / 29.9560; -90.0698

As of 2014, the couple had opened up a new branch of the museum in New Orleans called "Musée de Mort Orleans."[7][8] The new museum branch will have around 12,000 square metres of space, which will allow more of the collection to be displayed. The limited space at the California museum means that only a third of the items available can be shown at one time.[9]


Severed head presented as Henri Landru's.

The museum displays a wide variety of art and artifacts surrounding the subject of death. Baby coffins are in one section, letters and artwork from various serial killers in another. There are films regarding autopsies as well as explicit photographs of crime victims. There is also a room filled exclusively with taxidermy of various types of animals. The museum's recreation of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide includes the original beds.[10] However, the most notable item at the museum is the head of Henri Landru.[1] In 2014 the museum also acquired Thanatron, one of the original suicide machines built by Jack Kevorkian.[7]

Once a year, the museum holds a Black Dahlia look-alike competition, where contestants have to dress as both pre- and post-mortem Dahlia.[11]

A 2001 attempt to procure a real electric chair was unsuccessful.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Museum of Death". Roadside America. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Gumbel, Andrew (December 8, 1999). "American Times: Hollywood, California, The Doyenne of Death Heads for Tinseltown". The Independent. London, UK. p. 15.
  3. ^ Recinos, Eva (February 12, 2012), "Museum of Death pays tribute to more than the dead", Daily Trojan
  4. ^ Canto, Minerva (November 1, 1999). "Museum of Death moving to Hollywood". The Associated Press State & Local Wire.
  5. ^ About us, Boulevard Recording, retrieved 2015-01-01
  6. ^ "Dark destinations: The Museum of Death",, June 7, 2009, archived from the original on January 1, 2015, retrieved January 1, 2015
  7. ^ a b Rylah, Juliet Bennett (July 24, 2014). "The Museum Of Death In Hollywood Bought Dr. Kevorkian's Suicide Machine". LAist.
  8. ^ Sarah Cascone (July 22, 2014), "Museum of Death Buys Dr. Kevorkian's Suicide Device", Artnet News
  9. ^ Boehm, Mike (July 21, 2014). "Museum of Death in L.A. buys Kevorkian suicide device Thanatron". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  10. ^ Fox, Ben (November 22, 1999). "Bidders snap up household items from site of worst mass suicide". The Associated Press State & Local Wire.
  11. ^ Renzetti, Elizabeth (October 25, 2000). "Ghost town; Hollywood, more than any other place on; earth, is death-obsessed. ELIZABETH RENZETTI; takes us on a ghoulish tour of Tinsel Town". The Globe and Mail. Canada. pp. T1.
  12. ^ "Electric chair could end up in museum". The Associated Press State & Local Wire. August 20, 2001.

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