Preservation at Work: Historic Cemeteries
What do you think of when you think of “preservation?” Do cemeteries come to mind at all? Oregon’s historic cemeteries are often forgotten about in the preservation world, but are vital resources to our heritage community. Historic cemeteries are also a great way to meet people who are enthusiastic about preservation. Many historic cemeteries have active volunteer groups dedicated to finding unmarked burials, cleaning and repairing markers, controlling vegetation, installing fencing and signage, and interpreting community histories through their cemeteries.
If you’re interested in getting involved in historic cemetery preservation, Oregon Heritage has you covered. We’ve put together a few Heritage Bulletins about historic cemetery preservation to help you get started:
- Ways to Protect a Historic Cemetery
- How to Clean Cemetery Markers
- How to Organize a Cemetery Clean Up Day
- Cemetery Vandalism: Tips to Avoid It and Respond to It
- A Sampling of Oregon Gravestone Symbols
- See all our cemetery Heritage Bulletins
For those of you who want to take the next step, the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries is organizing the Historic Cemetery Volunteer Corps that will be made up of people willing to take a bit of training on how to care for historic cemeteries and then make themselves available to volunteer with others in their area during cemetery clean-ups. The free training is available online and can be completed in about an hour or less. Once the training is complete, your name will be added to a list of volunteers. Trained volunteers will then be connected with other people and groups in your area that would like help at their next cemetery clean-up. Get more information about the Historic Cemetery Volunteer Corps at oregonheritage.org.
How are you working to preserve Oregon’s historic cemeteries? If you’re not, are you ready to dip your toe in cemetery preservation? Are you thinking about joining the Historic Cemetery Volunteer Corps? Let us know in the comments below!