This cameo image from Elmwood Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee, illustrates the variety of materials found in historic cemeteries. The cameo is a fired ceramic that is set in the marble grave marker. Photograph by Mary Striegel.

This cameo image from Elmwood Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee, illustrates the variety of materials found in historic cemeteries. The cameo is a fired ceramic that is set in the marble grave marker. Photograph by Mary Striegel.

The National Park Service released its latest preservation brief that focuses on the care and preservation of historic cemetery grave markers. Cemeteries across the nation reflect the customs and values of the community. As in past eras, people desire a way to show respect by caring for cemeteries. From rural graveyards to expansive urban cemeteries, there is a need for information on the best practices to preserve grave markers. NPS Preservation Brief #48, Preserving Grave Markers in Historic Cemeteries, hopes to fill that need. This brief provides guidance for owners, property managers, administrators, in-house maintenance staff, volunteers, and others in preserving and protecting grave markers.

 

Proper work practices and lifting techniques are illustrated in this photograph from a workshop in Silver Terrace Cemetery in Virginia City, Nevada. The simple wooden clamp system allows two people to safety lift the marble grave marker. Photograph by Jason Church.

Proper work practices and lifting techniques are illustrated in this photograph from a workshop in Silver Terrace Cemetery in Virginia City, Nevada. The simple wooden clamp system allows two people to safety lift the marble grave marker. Photograph by Jason Church.

The brief describes grave marker materials and risk factors that contribute to their decay; provides guidance for assessing their conditions, and discusses maintenance programs and various preservation treatments. The authors drew from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds to write the brief. Fran Gale is a conservation scientist and lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. Jason Church is a materials conservator and leading expert in cemetery preservation at NCPTT. Debbie Smith is a landscape architect that specializes in the preservation of historic landscapes and heads up NCPTT’s Historic Landscapes Program. Mary Striegel is a conservation scientist that leads NCPTT’s Materials Conservation Program.

 

To obtain hard copies of the brief, go to: https://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/024-005-01328-8

For digital PDF format of the brief, go to: https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/48-preserving-grave-markers.htm

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119