Mount Auburn Receives National Trust Preservation Grant

September 24, 2014

The Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery is pleased to announce that it has received a $7,500 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its innovation in preservation. Overall eight organizations were selected from Alabama to California, and $72,000 awarded for projects that envision and test creative, break-through ideas and strategies in the field of preservation.

The Cemetery will work with Cultural Heritage Imaging to test two new computational photographic methods (Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Photogrammetry) on historic grave markers. This technology will enhance images in order to read faded inscriptions and reveal details not visible to the naked eye, as well as define parts of the structure that are actively deteriorating. Through this project and the grant funding, the Cemetery will assess the viability of employing these techniques in the field for the efficient documentation of large numbers of historic grave markers and share its experience and results with other stewards of historic sites.

Three examples of typical inscriptions that are difficult to read are shown in the photo above. Often designed by families, nineteenth-century monuments contain inscriptions that inform our understanding of Victorian culture, as well as specific biographical details that might otherwise not be known. They vary in size, but the inscribed area on each is about 30” High and 12”-16” wide.

The National Trust is the nation’s leading historic preservation organization. Among the programs is the National Trust Preservation Funds. Grants from the fund are intended to encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects.

For more information about this project please contact Jenny Gilbert, Senior Gifts Officer at 617-607-1970 or

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