Papal Funeral Exhibit on Display In Houston Museum

HOUSTON (AP) - What's billed as the only exhibit of papal artifacts outside the Vatican is on display in an unlikely spot -- the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston.

The exhibit -- titled "Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes" -- is designed to recreate the experience of attending a papal funeral.

There's a re-creation of a pope lying in state at St. Peter's Basilica, flanked by two members of the Swiss Guard. A mannequin representing the pontiff is clothed in the funeral vestments made for John Paul II.

Other museum exhibits focus on everything from coffins to the birth of embalming and the mourning rituals of the Victorian Era.

The gift shop sells mugs bearing the museum's slogan: "Any day above ground is a good one."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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