This presentation is part of the International Cemetery Preservation Summit, October 8-10, 2014 Niagara Falls, NY.
Not Seeing the Cemetery for the Monuments: Understanding the Importance of Preservation Assessments by Michael Trinkley and Debi Hacker
Often conservators develop what is known as “target fixation,” where they become so preoccupied with the monuments – and their treatment – that the broader cemetery context is overlooked. This can result in a great deal of funds being spent to treat objects, while overriding problems in the cemetery are overlooked. In addition, dealing with underlying problems, such as vandalism, abusive landscape maintenance, over eager pedestrians, unpruned trees may often be more cost-effective than treating individual monuments.
We suggest that stone conservators become more focused on the overall cemetery context, taking an active role in developing meaningful cemetery preservation plans that focus on issues having the potential to impact the long-term preservation of the monuments. By stepping-back and looking at the cemetery, rather than just at the monuments, conservators may be able to provide clients with more cost-effective and targeted preservation options.
Conservators, with their intimate knowledge of stone deterioration factors and broad preservation backgrounds, are the perfect choice to evaluate the broader cemetery context, including issues of vehicular and pedestrian access; lighting and security issues; problems with cemetery fixtures and finishings; the impact of landscape choices, as well as landscape maintenance issues; issues such as trash and signage; and of course the conservation needs of stones and ironwork in the cemetery. Conservators are also uniquely able to evaluate options and identify those having the greatest potential to improve the long-term preservation of the cemetery.
This presentation will review how Chicora goes about the process of developing preservation plans for cemeteries ranging from small family plots to large multi-acre parcels.
Dr. Trinkley has nearly 40 years of experience in cemetery preservation, receiving his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina and his graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, the Southeast Regional Conservation Association, the Association for Preservation Technology, the American Chapter International Building Limes Forum, US/ICOMOS, and the Association for Gravestone Studies. He has conducted work in South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Montana.
Ms. Hacker received her B.A. in Anthropology from Tulane University and has a certificate in landscape maintenance. She is a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, the Southeast Regional Conservation Association, and the Association for Gravestone Studies, PLANT, International Society of Arboriculture, SC Nursery & Landscape Association, and the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation.