Mors Mortis Museum is proud to feature Dr. Claire Nally who will contribute to the Public Education and Engagement in Museums and Heritage section of the upcoming Routledge handbook: Museums, Heritage, and Death with her work tentatively titled: The Death Positive Library alongside her colleague Dr. Stacey Pitsillides and the library staff at Redbridge, Kirklees and Newcastle libraries in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Nally says, “There’s a part of my publication history that relates to death (so I’ve written on the poet W. B. Yeats and his relationship to spiritualism, for instance). But the catalyst for my more recent interests was writing about the Cross Bones graveyard in Southwark, and then collaborating with Stacey in her work.”
She says that some of her most meaningful moments came from her work on The Death Positive Library which she says has “involved me interviewing a number of authors for public events. I learn so much from each of them – creativity, compassion, empathy. But in particular, Katherine Mannix’s discussion from With the End in Mind on how palliative care patients can ‘hang on’ until family pop out or leave so they are alone in a room, and then the patient just quietly slips away, was fascinating to me.”
Dr. Nally’s work is entirely research-based. However she does co-direct a module for MA in English Literature called ‘Dark Tourism’ which she says “definitely features a lot of death, trauma, and heritage.”
Her favorite museum is the Capuchin Crypt in Rome. She says that it is “a phenomenal place of quiet reflection, and memento mori. That said, when I visited, all the bones were a bit much for my other half, who had to escape to the sunshine outside! So it isn’t for everyone!”
She also recommends that you check out John Troyer’s book, Technologies of the Human Corpse (2020) and her article on Cross Bones https://academic.oup.com/jvc/article-abstract/23/2/247/4917719
By Jesse Morgan, a Communication and Photography Student at Coastal Carolina University, USA.