The social and cultural values of an era are reflected in burial customs and tombs, among other things. Frequently, the sepulchral relics are the only surviving testimonies to a culture. The Study Group for Cemeteries and Memorials is interested in caring for traditional cemetery culture, but also in keeping public interest in culturally conscious forms of cemetery, grave and memorial alive. Last but not least, the Study Group takes notice of the changing needs today, which are characterized by the search for new forms of funeral, graveyards and remembrance. The main focus is on the wishes and ideas of the individual. To this end, we search for new possibilities of mourning and grave design, collect them and make them known.
The work of the Study Group rests on three pillars:
- The Museum for Sepulchral Culture is concerned with the topics of dying, death and commemoration. Its goal is to illustrate continuity and change in dealing with the “last things”. To this end, it maintains museum collections and creates exhibitions on selected themes of sepulchral culture in order to stimulate a confrontation with transience from very differing perspectives.
- The advisory department helps in the design of cemeteries, burial grounds and tombstones as well as in legal matters. It organizes seminars and offers lectures.
- The Central Institute for Sepulchral Culture does fundamental research on scientific, cultural and sociological aspects. It monitors and accompanies developments in the field of cemeteries, memorials and funerals. It edits and publishes the scientific book series "Kassel Studies on Sepulchral Culture", "Kassel Manuscripts on Sepulchral Culture" as well as the catalogues of the museum’s cultural-historical exhibitions.
In practice, there is interaction between these individual, but mutually complementary fields of activity.