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What is the Difference Between a Morgue and a Mortuary?

Does a person’s body go to a morgue or mortuary after death? Are they the same place? Let’s find out how a morgue is different from a mortuary.
Two medical professionals walking in to the morgue. There is a sign above the door that reads Authorized Personnel Only.

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What is the difference between a morgue and a mortuary? The two are commonly mistaken for one another and used interchangeably, but are they interchangeable? 

These are some of the most common questions that we receive at Green Cremation Texas. So we decided to create a quick blog post to clear matters up and clarify the difference between morgues and mortuaries. 

Is a Morgue the Same as a Mortuary?

The names sound very similar, but a morgue and a mortuary are two very different places. 

A morgue is usually in a hospital or medical center. Its primary purpose is to serve as a temporary storage space for bodies of the recently deceased. Bodies are kept at the morgue if an autopsy needs to be done or the body is unclaimed. It’s a matter of safety and sanity since bodies can begin to decompose quickly after death.

A key feature of a morgue is the temperature-controlled containers where bodies are stored. They are essentially refrigerated drawers that are large enough to hold an adult. 

There are some morgues that provide a wider array of funeral services, but this isn’t the norm. 

A mortuary is sometimes mistakenly called a morgue, but it serves a very different purpose. At a mortuary cremations can be performed on-site. Embalming services can also be performed at a mortuary. 

Another distinction is there can be a morgue at a mortuary. This is where some of the confusion between the two lies. They can be in the same physical location, but morgues and mortuaries are still different in their core function. 

Is a Mortuary the Same as a Crematorium?

It would seem that a mortuary is actually similar to a crematorium, but there are some important differences between these two as well. In most cases, a crematorium is a funeral home that can offer a wide array of services. Some crematoriums, like Green Cremation Texas, are highly specialized in the cremation services that are provided. A crematorium can also have a chapel onsite and an area for memorial services. 

Mortuaries are much more simple and basic compared to crematoriums. Families that want a funeral or a specialized form of cremation will need to seek assistance outside of a mortuary.  

There you have it! A morgue and a mortuary might sound like the same place, but there are some distinct differences between the two. You also now know the difference between a mortuary and a crematorium, which offers services that are similar to a mortuary.

If you have any other questions regarding cremation or body disposition please don’t hesitate to give Green Cremation Texas a call, text or email. We’re available to help 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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