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What is a Mausoleum?

Published: August 15, 2022

What is a mausoleum? Can they be separate from a cemetery?

Merriam Webster definition: usually stone building with places for entombment of the dead above ground

A mausoleum does not have to be on cemetery grounds and does not have to be owned by a company that manages a cemetery. A mausoleum is an option for an above ground burial for caskets in spaces known as crypts. Some mausoleums are built on the same grounds as a cemetery, but this is not a requirement to build one. In fact, these buildings are often found on the same grounds as a funeral home.

Some mausoleums are enclosed into a building on the grounds of a cemetery or funeral home and others are open to the elements. There are also private or family mausoleums or columbariums that can be located at places such as a cemetery or even on old church grounds. This is often seen in movies where a beautiful marble family mausoleum is located in an old cemetery or church ground. Some mausoleums have a garden area or a chapel located inside or on the grounds of the mausoleum.

There are many similarities between a cemetery and mausoleum, such as the ability to purchase family plots, vases for flowers and a customizable name plate. They can also have emblems or engravings on the door of the crypt. Some mausoleums offer double and single size crypts, with a few even offering an option of a four casket crypt. For all mausoleums, there will be an opening and closing fee. There may be an option to place an urn in a crypt as well.

While they serve a similar purpose to a cemetery of being a final resting place, a cemetery exclusively offers in ground burial and a mausoleum or columbarium exclusively offers entombment.

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