New Preservation Brief on Preserving Grave Markers

Brief Provides Guidance on Preserving Markers in Historic Cemeteries


Cemeteries found across the country are not only places of burial, but they also provide a vivid record of community history. Whether large or small, well maintained or neglected, historic cemeteries are an important part of our cultural landscape. The vast richness of expression through form, decoration and materials informs our understanding of the individuals buried in historic cemeteries and their cultural significance.

While cemeteries are often considered to be perpetual, their most prominent feature—the grave markers—are not. They weather and naturally decay. Infrequent maintenance and inappropriate repair may lead to decay. Others suffer from vandalism. Grave markers are usually noteworthy not only for their inscriptions but also for their craftsmanship. Many consider exceptional markers works of art.

This Preservation Brief focuses on a single aspect of historic cemetery preservation. It provides guidance for owners, property managers, administrators, in-house maintenance staff, volunteers, and others responsible for or interested in preserving and protecting grave markers. The brief describes grave marker materials and the risk factors that contribute to their decay. It then provides guidance for assessing their conditions and discusses maintenance programs and various preservation treatments.

Preservation Brief 48: Preserving Grave Markers in Historic Cemeteries



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