The ultimate sideshow

“‘No, I don’t think [this interest] is morbid or strange,’ says Hoff, 44, pausing in the midst of a disquisition on the intricacies of bodily decay. ‘Haven’t people always been interested in death?’ If Hoff’s peculiar fascination is not to everyone’s taste, it has at least found a suitable home for the next few weeks. His private collection of mortuary artifacts — from embalming shunts to Victorian-era ‘animal-claw jewelry’ — are part of Good Mourning America, a new exhibit at the American Dime Museum that casts an eye on the evolving business of death and grieving in America, particularly around the turn of the last century.”