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Old Cemetery group schedules workshop in July

Jun 20, 2020
Participants in a prior Maine Old Cemetery Association workshop learn to reset a gravestone.

Lubec — Would you like to learn everything you need to properly care for old gravestones, from basic cleaning techniques to multi-step repairs? Consider registering to attend a beginner workshop arranged by the Maine Old Cemetery Association.

Joe Ferrannini of Grave Stone Matters of Hoosick Falls, New York, will lead the workshop Friday through Monday, July 10-13, in Lubec. This intensive beginner four-day workshop is hands-on, but people may also attend as observers.

The workshop starts with a classroom session in the Lubec Town Hall, and then participants will walk over to the cemetery to cover techniques for cleaning stones and straightening leaning stones. Ferrannini will also cover how to cast a new base, how to mix and work with stone-specific epoxies and soft mortars, clamping, setting, and lifting techniques and much more. Every workshop is different, as you never know what you will run into as you start working on a stone.

Lubec is known for its red and white striped West Quoddy Head Light. The ocean is just across the street from Bayview Cemetery where the group will be working.

This is a Beginners Workshop to teach all the skills covered in past MOCA four-day conservator-led workshops. Participation is limited to those who have not participated in a previous MOCA four-day workshop.

It is a unique opportunity to learn about gravestone preservation and acquire essential conservation skills as well as practice through hands-on experience. Learn to:

- Properly and safely clean and repair gravestones

- Straighten leaning stones

- Reset fallen stones

- Build and rebuild bases

- Repair broken stones using epoxy

- Infill

- Use a tripod for resetting monuments

- Ensure what is happening in your local cemetery is safe for the stones

Ideally, participants will attend all four days, but that is not always possible. Planners cannot forecast what activities will happen on which day, as the instruction and practice are based on what onsite damage the group finds as participants work in the cemetery.

There is no registration fee for this workshop. The MOCA Workshop Committee urges participants to donate as generously as they are able to help cover workshop expenses of about $1,000 per day. Any funds collected in excess of program expenses will be re-invested into the MOCA workshop fund.

"Don’t hesitate to register based on your ability to donate, however," the organizers said in a press release. "Our goal is to promote the use of correct materials and practices when working in cemeteries and to encourage workshop participants to share the skills they learn."

Donations will be accepted each day of the workshop. Checks should be made out to MOCA.

Additional work session

Following the workshop, the Lubec Historical Society will be sponsoring Joe Ferrannini for three additional days of work at this oceanside cemetery Tuesday through Thursday, July 14-16 July. Those who have participated in past MOCA workshops are invited to come and help. Participants in the workshop are also encouraged to stay and put their just-learned techniques into practice.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, association members encourage those interested to sign up and make plans to attend. If anything changes with the workshop, prospective participants will be notified.

Maine Old Cemetery Association has been dedicated to the preservation of Maine's neglected cemeteries since its founding in 1968.

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