April 30, 2009

Spring-ing into the Season

Well, Spring finally arrived--by throwing us a day of Summer temperatures, no less!--and the monument survey project is back underway outdoors. Our NEA preservation intern, Mary Bulso, and I completed the data input over the winter, checked everything twice, and are finally thawed out enough to start welcoming our fabulous volunteers back for the inscription project.

If you're not familiar with the transcribing, here's the thing: it's a lot of fun, and you're not graded on it! I give you some paper, a pencil, and assign you a bunch of (gorgeous, beautiful, and poignant) marble gravestones; you copy everything you can read on the marble onto the paper. Bring your coffee and a friend!

Although our Victorian clients in the nineteenth century spent lots of money on their often beautifully carved white marble monuments, they rarely recorded the inscriptions they had worked out so carefully with the monument maker. After all, they probably remembered exactly what they had ordered--so why record it? (You don't make lists of things like who your friends are, or your pet's names, right? Exactly. Because what's the point, you already know it so well.) The same thing happened with our nineteenth century patrons, and with time....well, things got lost and eventually forgotten. Today, with the erosion of the marble that we can sometimes delay, but cannot ultimately arrest, we are working hard to capture as much of this information as we can, before it is gone for good.

Beginning May 1 and through much of the spring and summer months we are going to be holding transcription sessions--weather permitting--on most Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10-12pm. If you are interested in joining us for any session, please let me know ahead of time and I will schedule you in. (You'll need about 5 minutes of training the first time.)

If you have any questions let me know, I'll be happy to answer them! Reach me at e_ciregna@foresthillstrust.org.

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