Texas Historical Commission and National Park Service Host Cemetery Disaster Recovery Workshops

The Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance (TX-CERA), the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, and other partners announce two workshops focused on disaster recovery efforts for historic cemeteries in Texas. The workshops will be held in Houston (February 5– 6) and Corpus Christi (February 8–9).

Cemeteries hold valuable historic information and are often the last reminders of early settlements’ historical events, religious beliefs, lifestyles, and genealogy. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many cemeteries suffered damage from falling trees and standing water. Grave markers were broken or soiled. Historic trees and landscapes were damaged.

The two-day workshops address damaged cemeteries and bring assistance to municipal planners, cemetery managers, church sextons, cemetery grounds workers, and family members.  Each workshop will include valuable information and hands-on activities on topics such as disaster preparedness plans, reentering cemeteries after a disaster, landscape damage and vegetation removal, emergency stabilization of grave markers, stone monument cleaning, monument resetting, and more.

Instructors for the workshop include James “Rusty” Brenner, owner of Texas Cemetery Restoration LLC; Jason Church, Materials Conservator at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training; Joe Ferrannini, proprietor of Grave Stone Matters; and Joseph Keefe, Arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts.

Workshop facilitation is provided by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) and Friends of NCPTT.  NCPTT is widely considered one of nation’s leaders in historic preservation technology and cemetery preservation. The training events are made possible with generous funding from the National Endowment for Humanities and additional support from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

All event information can be found at www.ncptt.nps.gov. Tickets for the two-day event cost $35, lunch included. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

For more information regarding historic cemetery preservation in Texas, visit thc.texas.gov/cemetery.