Cemetery Disaster Training

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated numerous Texas counties, destroying or heavily damaging the built and natural environment. Historic cemeteries were among the casualties, suffering from damage caused by high winds and flooding. Gravestone in Rockport Cemetery damaged by Hurricane Harvey

In March 2019, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) received a grant from the National Park Service’s Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund to address the consequences of Hurricane Harvey on historic properties. Among the projects made possible by this grant funding is one which focuses on training stewards of historic cemeteries to better prepare for and respond to future disasters. 

THC, through our primary contractor Terracon, is developing a training package for disaster preparedness and response for historic cemeteries. The overall goal for this project is to provide caretakers of historic cemeteries with the knowledge and skills necessary to assess risks; prevent or minimize hurricane disaster-related damages; prioritize and carry-out post-disaster stabilization and response work; and to generally build greater resiliency to withstand and recover from disasters. The primary focus of this effort are cemeteries located in the region impacted by Hurricane Harvey (see green shaded counties on this map).

To help us meet these goals, Terracon will develop a series of training webinars and videos that will address the fundamental actions cemetery caretakers can take to safeguard the valuable cultural landscapes under their care. To make sure the training content is as helpful and relevant as possible, Terracon and THC will solicit information about Harvey-related impacts from cemetery caretakers through direct communication (email or phone) and in a series of virtual public meetings.  

Join us for the introductory kick-off meeting online August 3 at 6 pm via Zoom! You'll get to meet the project team and learn more about our goals for the project. Plus, you'll be an active participant in our planning process by engaging in conversations about how the historic cemeteries you care about were impacted by Hurricane Harvey; what the recovery process looked like; and what challenges still exist. This meeting will be interactive, and we encourage your participation in reaching our goals.

  • Register in advance for this virtual Zoom meeting by clicking here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
  • Click here to fill out the pre-meeting survey form prior to our August 3rd meeting. This survey will give us more information about who will attend the meeting and your disaster-related experience.
  • You can also email us up to 10 photos of cemetery damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey (or other recent disaster event) to THC_Cemeteries@Terracon.com, or simply upload photos through the survey form link provided above.

Additional stakeholder meetings will be held in the coming months, giving you more opportunities to participate in the planning process. If you are interested in the program but are not able to participate in these meetings, you can submit any comments or questions or request presentation material via email at ESHPF_Cemetery@thc.texas.gov.