Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cemetery Workshop: post mortem

This past Tuesday the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office put off a workshop focused on cemeteries in Newfoundland and Labrador. The workshop was held at the Johnson's Geo Centre and looked at the art, archaeology, history and heritage of graveyards in this province. The workshop was a great success and very well attended by members of the community who had varying interests on the topic, from the restoration of headstones to municipal heritage designations for cemeteries. 

The workshop was broken down into two sessions. During the first session Gerald Pocius discussed the origins of Newfoundland headstones and the symbols and epitaphs used on them. Martha Drake discussed archaeology and the Portugal Cove Cemetery and Melanie Tucker gave an overview of Stonepics, a database of over 30,000 photographs of headstones collected from cemeteries across the province. Dale Jarvis also gave a presentation on lych-gates which are elaborate roofed gates that traditionally were the sheltered point at which the coffin was set down at a funeral to await the clergyman's arrival. 

The second session focused on the conservation and heritage of cemeteries.  Andrea O'Brien discussed municipal heritage designation for cemeteries, followed by Annie McEwen who discussed her experience making headstone rubbings in Port Royal, Long Island, Placentia Bay. Lastly, Lisa Wilson described the conservation project which took place at that same cemetery in Port Royal during the summer of 2012. 

After the workshop we asked participants to fill out a form and give us feedback on the workshop. Here are some of the comments we received:

I really enjoyed learning about the databases that exist, in addition to the slide presentation by Gerald Pocius. 

The grave stone rubbings and the restoration of the Port Royal Cemetery was amazing. I would love to do this myself!

I find cemeteries to be fascinating windows into history, and NL seems to have some wonderful sites. 

I enjoyed the variety of topics addressed and the different presentations.

Enjoyed all aspects of it. Really enjoyed the graveyard rubbing session and the Stonepic presentation. Lisa's presentation of restoration was awesome! 

This was a well thought out and amazing workshop on cemeteries!!!

Loved it!!

We'd like to thank all those who attended our workshop and give a big thank you to our speakers for their interesting and informative presentations. 

Check out the ICH page for updates on upcoming workshops and please feel free to get in touch and let us know what kind of heritage workshops you would like to see us put off in the future. 

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