Mount Auburn Receives a Federal Grant from IMLS

September 27, 2013


Mount Auburn Cemetery is delighted to announce that it has received a Museums for America Award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  The award, in the amount of $92,000, will allow Mount Auburn to further implement the preservation of the Cemetery’s Significant Monument Collection. “This is a great honor for Mount Auburn,” Dave Barnett, Mount Auburn Cemetery President and CEO, said of the award. “We are thrilled with this national recognition of Mount Auburn and its collections.”

Many of Mount Auburn’s monuments are in urgent need of professional care and documentation before they are lost forever. Under the grant, the Cemetery will document 30 of its most significant monuments, many of which are expressions of Victorian art by major American  sculptors. The project will begin with research and digitization of the Cemetery’s primary documents including: monument plans; correspondence with architects, carvers, and designers; and drawings and historic photographs which will provide historical context for understanding the monuments. Conditions assessments and cataloging will create a baseline to proceed with conservation. At the project’s end, information about these monuments will be made available to the public through an online exhibition and print publication. Mount Auburn will share project findings through monument tours and a one-day seminar. These efforts will help establish standards and guidelines for the care of outdoor sculpture and monuments in a horticultural setting.

Among the Cemetery’s 175 acres are significant works of funerary art by 19th– and 20th-century sculptors Horatio Greenough, R. Ball Hughes, Thomas Crawford, Thomas Ball, Edmonia Lewis, Martin Milmore, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. As the first large-scale designed landscape open to the public in North America, Mount Auburn led the rural cemetery movement in this country and provided the landscape pattern for the public parks movement that followed.

A link to the full award announcement, including a list of all IMLS funding recipients in Massachusetts, can be found online.


Click here to learn more about the significant monuments that will benefit from the IMLS grant.


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit



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