Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn A Landscape of Lives - Page 21

People and Happenings

People and Happenings

Remembering

David Gallagher

By Gus Fraser , Vice President of Preservation & Facilities
David Gallagher , our Chief of Conservation , passed away in July after a long battle with cancer , and with his passing the Cemetery has lost a friend , a colleague , and the mainstay of our preservation work for the last fifteen years . David was hired in 2001 to be the Cemetery ’ s first craftsman dedicated entirely to the preservation of our historic monuments and buildings . During his years here he conserved hundreds of monuments and tombs , managed the preservation of cast iron fences , restored interior plasterwork , performed carpentry repairs on historic woodwork , and oversaw the maintenance of our outdoor bronze sculpture . His enthusiasm for preservation was all-encompassing and he applied the highest standard to all of his work .
David brought considerable skills to the job at Mount Auburn , skills developed during his years at North Bennet Street School and then honed as a preservation contractor working on buildings throughout the Boston area . He always knew , however , that there was more to learn and he continuously sought opportunities for additional training and experience . While at Mount Auburn he received a Quinque fellowship and spent twelve weeks working alongside stone conservators at Historic Scotland . He traveled to Europe to learn stone-carving skills . He attended workshops , conferences , and trade shows , always learning and always eager to apply new skills and techniques to his work . We often hired stone and sculpture conservators to work at Mount Auburn , and whenever possible David would work alongside them to
see if he could learn about new conservation materials or methods .
Before long , David was doing the teaching . Under his supervision , the preservation department grew , and he trained the seasonal workers to carefully wash monuments and apply wax to bronze , and his full-time staff to repair headstones and repoint tombs . He got perhaps his greatest pleasure working with students or recent graduates of North Bennet Street School . These students shared David ’ s respect for the fine craftsmanship often inherent in historic objects , and appreciated that the goal of the preservationist is often to make your own work disappear . David presented papers at national conferences and was invited to serve on the board of the Association for Preservation Technology ’ s Northeast Chapter .
Shortly after David was hired , Mount Auburn built a building adjacent to its Operations Center . David made the new Preservation Services Building ( PSB ) his home , laying out and stocking the workshop with tools and materials , filling his office with mementos from his travels and photos of his close-knit family , and living in the open and airy apartment upstairs . His devotion to his craft as well as his wry sense of humor filled each of these spaces . He imbued the building with his personality , as he imbued the Cemetery ’ s preservation work with a commitment to applying the highest standards to the care of its invaluable history . Through his work , David left an enduring mark on the Cemetery , and we will continue to honor his memory through thoughtful preservation work , always done to the highest standard .
2017 Volume 1 | 19