Sleeping Beauties: Memorial Photographs from the Burns Collection

Child on Father’s Lap, ‘The Last Bond
Tintype, 1/2 plate
c. 1875

April 13 – May 31, 2011

Since the invention of photography, people have taken and used photographs of the deceased to celebrate memories of late loved ones and to mitigate the finality of death. Such images, known as memorial photographs, are special mementos with deep meaning for mourners. From early daguerreotypes to contemporary images, Sleeping Beauties showcases over one hundred examples of memorial photography, revealing the diversity within this photographic practice. Considered individually or together, the images on display in this exhibition encourage contemplation of the ways in which individuals and cultures respond to death.

Victims of the Sinking of the Maine, Arlington Cemetery 
Arlington, Virginia 
Stereo view, 1898 

General Grant’s Funeral Procession
New York 
Stereo view, 1885 

Public Program

April 14
4:00 pm

Talk by Dr. Stanley Burns of The Burns Archive

Installation Views