Special Exhibit and Lecture to Illustrate Victorian Fascination with Death

Morgan-Manning Deathways Exhibit2

Rozenn Bailleul-LeSuer of the Morgan-Manning House and Sue Savard of the Emily L. Knapp Museum and Library of Local History holding artifacts from exhibit.

GCC Students to Guest Curate Special Halloween Victorian Deathways Exhibit at Morgan-Manning House

Batavia, New York – Applied learning projects are a critical component to the educational experience at Genesee Community College, and GCC professors look for engaging opportunities to enhance their curriculum and the learning outcomes for their students. Projects that reinforce a positive citizenship, an appreciation of history and community, and support local resources and civic treasures are ideal. And projects that do all of that plus celebrate a popular holiday are nearly a dream come true.

Welcome to the special exhibition entitled, “Changing Victorian Deathways in the 19th Century” in the Red Parlor of the Morgan-Manning House at 151 Main Street in Brockport, New York. The three-day exhibition is scheduled Monday through Wednesday, October 28, 29 and 30, 2019, from 6 – 8 p.m. There will also be a special lecture on Wednesday, October 30 at 7 p.m., “Dying on Script: Changing Victorian Deathways in the 19th Century,” by Derek Maxfield, GCC professor of history who is also a member of the Morgan-Manning House Board of Trustees.

Approximately 25 GCC students from a variety of academic programs are participating in the project by researching specific historic museum artifacts, developing detailed descriptions, and helping to curate the exhibition in preparation for the three-day event. The students are also learning the history of Morgan-Manning House, which was built in 1854, fully restored in 1965 and placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1991.

The exhibit is a collaborative effort involving not only GCC, but other museums and historical societies including the Waterloo Library and Historical Society, Emily L. Knapp Museum and Library of Local History in Brockport, and the Town of Bergen History Department. Retired Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin will also generously lend items from his private collection.  Among the related artifacts that will be on loan include mourning apparel, jewelry, hair wreaths and accessories and even a 1890’s glass encased child’s casket from the Waterloo Library and Museum, which has an interesting history all its own.

“Victorian society had rules about everything, and one of the most fascinating aspects about their culture was the manner in which people were put to rest,” Professor Maxfield said. “The students are not only learning about this history, but they are experiencing how exhibits are coordinated, how nonprofit organizations support one another, how to use a popular holiday today to celebrate the past, and perhaps most importantly, how important volunteerism is to community groups.”

Admittance into the Morgan-Manning House is free, but donations are encouraged. No tickets are necessary.

For more information, email Prof. Maxfield at ddmaxfield@genesee.edu or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288 or  Marketing Communications Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or email:

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