Log in

Cemetery Preservation Workshop in Wilton, Maine

19 Mar 2016 4:49 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

Registration for MOCA Members Now Open
Non-Member Registration Opens May 1
Registration Deadline is August 1, 2016

“It’s so peaceful here,” whispered my six-year-old granddaughter, her fingers and lips stained red with the juice of June’s wild strawberries, plentiful in the grass among the gravestones of Weld Street, Wilton’s Old Town Cemetery.

I’d stopped to inventory the damage that weather, time, and neglect had wrecked on over half of Weld Street Cemetery’s two hundred gravestones of Wilton’s settlers.  I wished to share with her the earliest, those of her fifth great-grandfather, Samuel Hiscock, buried in 1815, and of her fifth great-grandmother Betsy Teague Hiscock Wheeler, who came to Wilton (then Tyngtown) from Damariscotta in 1808, and raised a family of five sons here.

We lingered for more than an hour, she eating strawberries, finding lilies of the valley blooming at the woods’ edge, spotting birds amongst the trees, and reading names on headstones, while we chatted and I sadly recorded damage to more than one hundred gravestones.  My intent was to procure a Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) conservator-led 2016 Gravestone Preservation Workshop at this location, convenient to all the folks in Western Maine’s many small, rural communities.

Now MOCA’s 2016 Preservation Workshop Registration is Open!

You may attend one to four days, August 19-20-21-22, of hands-on work under the leadership of cemetery conservator Joe Farranniini of Grave Stone Matters based in Hoosick Falls, NY.  Joe’s profession is rescuing abandoned cemeteries, assessing cemetery work, mapping/documenting cemetery information, resetting stones, straightening stones, repairing broken stones/bases/pins, epoxy repair and infill, resetting fallen monuments, and leading training workshops.

Who Should Attend?

  • Genealogists
    I registered for Joe’s 2014 four-day MOCA workshop at Old North Parish Cemetery, Wiley’s Corner, St. George, simply because I’d discovered that one of my few Tripp family ancestors with an engraved headstone was buried there… and her stone was broken.  The camaraderie developed among workshop participants, the skills learned and practiced, and the cleaning/restoration of nearly one hundred historic gravestones in just four days’ time gave me the incentive to join Maine Old Cemetery Association and a passion to continue MOCA’s work.
  • Town Sextons & Cemetery Committee Members will learn and practice new – perhaps better – methods and materials for gravestone repair and care as well as have opportunities to network with others with similar position of responsibility.
  • Historical Society members who often volunteer to take responsibility for maintenance of a dozen or more of their community’s historic burial grounds will benefit from workshop knowledge, hands-on experience, and collaboration.
  • Educators & Students recognize the value of our historic cemeteries as learning laboratories. Maine Learning Results Standards call for integration across curricular areas with emphasis on application of newly-learned skills. Cemeteries offer countless authentic learning opportunities; History, Art, Geography, Ecology, Economics, Mathematics, Technology, Anthropology…. as well as lifelong community service.
  • Church Members who have an affiliated cemetery for which their parish is responsible ~ this was the case at MOCA’s last 4-day workshop in 2014, held at the old burying ground adjacent the church at Wiley’s Corner, St. George, ME.
  • Business People who are often sought out for gravestone care/ cleaning/repair/installation; stone masons, arborists, photographers, funeral home directors
  • Town Employees & Officials faced with declining perpetual care funds and increasing responsibilities for upkeep of towns’ historic cemeteries
  • Veterans and Civic Organization Leaders seeking projects to benefit their community (VFW, American Legion, Rotarians, Lions, Elks, Grange, Scouts, 4H)
  • In short, ANYONE who wants to know the correct means, methods and materials to properly care for their family’s and community’s burial plots and gravestones!


Ideally participants will attend all four days, but that’s not always possible. We can not forecast what activities will happen on which day, as the instruction and practice are based on what onsite damage we find as we work in the cemetery.

There is NO registration fee for this workshop. MOCA urges workshop participants to donate generously as they are able to help cover workshop expenses of about $1,000 per day. Don’t hesitate to register based on your ability to donate, however.  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.

Register Online or
Register by Mail

If you cannot attend, but would like to donate to MOCA's workshop fund, donations may be mailed to:

Visit our MOCA Facebook Group. Great posts!


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software