MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (FOX 2) - We're all going to die. But that doesn't mean your story won't continue to be told after you pass on.
That grim reality is brought to life at the Anatomy of Death Museum, Michigan's only institution committed to all things dead and the tools that carried them beyond.
"We're just here to show you that everybody dies and you should enjoy your life while you can," said Lyle Kramp, with the museum, "because you're going to end up looking like this gentleman right here one day."
Kramp gestures to a complete skeleton laying for all eyes to observe.
"That's just a skeleton and what's it all been worth?"
That reminder follows any and all who traverse through the museum. As science and its resources have evolved, so have the ways in which society has treated death. From the way we say goodbye to how the bodies are preserved have changed dramatically over the years.
Nowhere is that more evident than in some of the archaic tools on display.
"These are embalming tools and sizing. They check to see the size of your head, brain, etc.," Kramp said. "These are civil war pieces over here."
Laid out below is an amputation kit employed by nurses during the United States' bloodiest conflict.
And then there's the iconic image of death that always appears when hearing the word: the human skull.
"What we tell people when you buy one, and you can't buy anything in them museum, but if you buy a human skull form us, then you'll have two," said Kramp.
Despite the morbidity of the subject, the curators of the establishment have largely avoided some of the gruesome tools that have resulted in death. Kramp said they avoid idolizing beheadings and serial killer incidents.
"This is absolutely extraordinary," said Dale Lockley, a visitor. "I've just returned from a tour of Transylvania on the Dracula Trail and it is nothing like this, this is absolutely amazing."
If you really have the guts, you can sit and lay down on an embalming table where officials would extract your organs - lord knows any who have before don't have their own to show anymore.