What is a Mausoleum?

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, November 15, 2021

Dotted across many local cemeteries are ornate stone buildings called mausoleums. These monuments are designed to house remains above ground. Why do people choose mausoleums to be their final resting place? Be it family tradition or personal preference, mausoleum resting places are fairly popular. This article will explore what a mausoleum is, and what to expect when choosing one.

What is a Mausoleum?

Mausoleums are tombs that stand within cemetery grounds. While some families can pay for a personal mausoleum, most people purchase space in larger mausoleums. It is not common in the modern-day for families to buy their own crypts. The tradition of using mausoleums dates back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptians were among the first to practice this. While pharaohs would construct grand pyramids, lesser nobles had smaller personal or family crypts built for them. 
Most public mausoleums entomb a number of people within one building. You can purchase space in a mausoleum ahead of time, similar to buying a burial plot in a cemetery.

Burial Above Ground

Above-ground burial usually refers to entombment in a mausoleum or inurnment in a columbarium niche. Columbariums are sections of tombs that house urns for cremated remains. The cremains are usually placed in the wall and sealed, covered by a plaque bearing the deceased’s name. Mausoleums offer an interesting alternative to traditional burial. For many people, mausoleums are more stately or refined than a traditional burial. 

Do Mausoleums Smell?

Mausoleums have a reputation for being musty and dusty, because of supernatural films and television. After all, it seems to make sense. It is a building that houses dead bodies, right? But in fact, a properly built mausoleum uses modern ventilation and drainage practices to keep the building smell-free. At worst, it may smell dry and dusty. When looking at purchasing space in a mausoleum, make sure that the building is properly maintained. 

Visiting a Mausoleum

You can visit most public mausoleums during the operating hours of the cemetery. For most private mausoleums, you will have to ask for permission from the cemetery. Family mausoleums are often kept locked by the family. Visiting a mausoleum before purchasing space within it is a good idea. Your funeral planning director can help you better assess what options are best for you. 

For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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