Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn The Art of Memory: Monuments Through Time - Page 15

Preserving Mount Auburn Several marble conservation projects like the Fay Lot on Central Avenue have been supported by generous individual donors in recent years. 19th Century Marble Monuments by Gus Fraser, Director of Preservation & Facilities White marble monuments dominate the landscape to slow this deterioration. Filling open joints and cracks in of the historic core of the Cemetery. the stone helps shed water and prevent it from Beautifully carved and sculpted, the penetrating deeper into the stone. Cutting monuments are evocative of, and inspired back encroaching plants speeds drying of by, classical monuments of ancient Rome the monument while meticulous washing and Greece. These associations, along to remove potentially harmful biological with the fine detail achievable in its growth also returns the monument, for a time, uniform and relatively soft surface, made closer to its original brilliant white. Finally, marble the predominant choice for when appropriate, a consolidant specifically memorials during the Cemtery’s first suited to the type of marble being preserved half century. Monument quality marble can be applied to strengthen the stone surface was imported from Italy and increasingly and protect from the affects of acid rain. available from quarries in New England, Several marble conservation projects and a thriving monument industry grew generously supported by individual donations to satisfy the demand. as well as grants have been completed in Challenges intrinsic to the climate of recent years. Examples include the Mary Massachusetts, however, have hastened the Walker monument on Kalmia Path, a stop Fay Monument with scaffolding deterioration of many marble monuments on our African American Heritage Trail, and during conservation last summer. at the Cemetery. Loss of detail due to the the Hygeia statue on Lily Path, commissioned slow erosion of the stone’s surface resulting by Dr. Harriot Kezia Hunt and sculpted from the acidity of the rainfall and the frequent wetting by 19th century sculptor Edmonia Lewis. With additional and drying, and wintertime freeze/thaw cycles. In recent funding we can preserve the great variety of carving in years the Cemetery’s preservation staff has worked with marble that contributes to the rich tapestry of our historical professional conservators to determine appropriate treatments landscape. Fall 2013 | 13