One of the driving forces of MOCA is the desire to foster interest in the discovery, restoration, and maintenance of Maine's old cemeteries and to assist in the preservation of related historical property, buildings, monuments and artifacts.
Here - and throughout the MOCA site - we share not only the "how", but, more importantly, the "why".
from "A Graveyard Preservation Primer" by Lynette Strangstad
Perhaps the first question that must be asked is why bother to preserve graveyards at all? After all, a great deal of cost and effort is involved, and land today is a scarce resource. There have been demands to turn some graveyards over for other uses. Many consider graveyards, or at least an interest in preserving them, to be morbid. Perhaps graveyards, like so many other evidences of an earlier time, should be allowed to disintegrate and return to the dust to which all things must eventually succumb.
One who indulges in such a line of thought, however, should also consider the real value of these stonecarvings, some of the earliest art and written history available in the United States today. These early stones are archaeological artifacts. Unlike most such artifacts, they are readily available and in the same location as they were originally placed. Clearly, much can be learned about our American forebears from studying the stones.
Unlike most histories, graveyards record the lives of all, signify past existences, and recognize one commonality of us all. The history of rich and poor, famous and infamous alike, is recorded here.
Histories of entire towns may be present only here, and elements of local history may survive here as nowhere else...
Graveyards are often the only record, the only artifacts remaining to tell of lives - of individuals and communities - struggled for, well-lived in the face of sometimes tremendous odds, and finally given up reluctantly or "with peaceful composure".