This presentation is part of the International Cemetery Preservation Summit, October 8-10, 2014 Niagara Falls, NY.

Maintaining Leadworks for Cemetery Monuments and Mausolea by Angus “Gus” Fraser and David Gallagher

Lead has traditionally been a widely available, durable, and versatile material used in several different forms in setting and maintaining cemetery memorials. Wedge lead, sheet lead, lead wool and poured, molten, lead were all used at various times at Mount Auburn Cemetery, where countless monuments are set on lead and many of our mausolea are pointed with it. During the 20th century, as alternative setting materials became available and, more recently, the potential health effects of lead exposure became widely understood, lead fell out of favor among monument setters.  As use of the material has declined, the skills necessary to restore and maintain historic monuments are becoming more difficult to find. At Mount Auburn Cemetery we have been exploring the advantages of this once prevalent material, and aquiring the techniques to use it effectively and safely.  In this presentation we will share a bit of the history of the use of lead at Mount Auburn and discuss our lessons learned over the course of several preservation projects.

Speaker Bio

David Gallagher is currently employed as the Chief of Conservation at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. David graduated from the Preservation Carpentry Program at North Bennet Street School in Boston in 1995.  He was employed by Webb Architectural Preservation from 1995 to 1999, specializing in all aspects of the preservation of 18th and early 19th century homes.  In the summer of 2000 he studied with Tim Meek of Scotland, a noted practitioner in use of traditional lime mortars.  After two years as sole proprietor of Gallagher Historical Restoration, he joined Mount Auburn Cemetery.  David was a 2002 Quinque Fellow, studying stone conservation practices with Historic Scotland as well as private stone conservators.  He has studied with Nick Micros, a noted sculptor, preservation mason and a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow.  He has practiced preservation craftsmanship for 20 years, while focusing on the conservation of stone monuments and sculpture the last 12 years.

Gus Fraser serves as Director of Preservation and Facilities at Mount Auburn Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. in Historic Preservation from Boston University.  He is in his ninth year on the staff of Mount Auburn and has over twenty years experience in the preservation, restoration and maintenance of historic structures and sites. Prior to coming to Mount Auburn he operated his own business providing high quality historic preservation services to house museums and private homeowners.  At Mount Auburn he directs the preservation of the Cemetery’s unique and historically significant collection of monuments, mausolea, and cast iron fences. He also works with contractors, architects and engineers in overseeing the repair, retrofit and restoration of the Cemetery’s two 19th century chapels and other historic structures.

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