The Cemetery Conservators for United Standards is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization of cemetery conservators & preservationists from around the country. Our members have many different levels of work experience and different skill sets. We range from those who do this professionally for a living, to those who volunteer their services as a charitable contribution. We have gathered here to share our knowledge and the knowledge of those who have taught us.
This is a relatively young field. And though we all have some variance in technique, we all agree on “Do No Harm” methods. There are several good sources with some preservation type standards and strongly suggested techniques and methods. Many of which we have sited on this webpage by direct quote or link. They are the foundation for what we practice, teach, and pass on to you.
Many of these places can become confusing to navigate due to rearrangements on their site, rearrangement of materials or removal of materials. Other sites can be weak in their suggestions or have no to little explanation of the subject. Our goal is to put all of the best information under one umbrella in an easy to find place and make it understandable with good explanations. We will do our utmost to dispel the myths concerning harmful methods, in comparison to the truths about harmless methods.
We have combined this expert knowledge to develop some basic standards for preservation. This is not to say that these are the only standards. They are quite simply a combination of the best and most basic techniques and methods across the board that most preservationists and groups seem to agree on. Where some groups and conservators have become extremely finite and particular, we have decided to give these practices some latitude. This gives us all some breathing room, option, and choice.
When deciding on these practices, we judge them on two simple basic criteria’s. Are they done in a no harm manner? Can the work be performed and done in the most non-permanent manner to accept better technology down the road? Other important criteria such as, keeping with historical character, symmetry, flora and fauna, and other cemetery related things, are also important. But these are subject to what is allowed in any given cemetery. We can certainly give opinion and advise on these aspects. But the rules and conditions that dictate them are too broad to address with a set of standards.
Our goal is to address the most basic preservation and restoration issues that make up the majority of what most try to accomplish. These beginning steps are the most important. And usually decide whether the project will begin with success or meet with permanent damage. Being a cemetery conservator does not happen overnight and we all continue to learn new things. But at the same time, anyone can become proficient in the basics with some knowledge, skill, training and practice. We are here to help you with that.
We care a great deal about preserving our cemeteries and the history that is unique to them. We want your experience with preservation to be a safe, productive, and long lasting one. We also want it to be easy to understand and affordable. It’s your unique experience to learn from and enjoy.
REPAIR VERSUS RESTORATION
Some have called the work done on cemeteries “restoration”. In a way this is partially correct. However, restoration is returning something to its’ original condition. In cemetery conservation we attempt to repair the headstones as best as possible. They will probably not be as beautiful as the original. With the many broken headstones we will find, the best we can do is repair them and attempt to make the engraving readable through the repair material. The goal is to do the best repair as possible without doing any more harm to the headstones, and getting them into a condition that will allow them to be upright as they were originally. Repair or restoration? Who really knows? The repair in the pictures below is an example. Some call it a repair. Some have called it a restoration. When I repaired this grave marker, I just wanted it to be intact, readable, and stand at the head of the infants’ grave. I accomplished that so I was satisfied. Whether it is repair or restoration is a moot point. You should always strive to be satisfied with the work you do at cemeteries whether it is just cleaning or repair and restoration. The definition of the difference should not deter you from doing the best job you can do.
Our site is designed with easy navigation in mind.
Is a walk through the best no harm methods.
Is a walk through the most destructive methods
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
Where you will find CCUS member preferred tools. The tried and true supplies we use in the field.
Our warehouse of instructional material and MSDS sheets on materials used in preservation.
This section speaks for itself. It’s where you find links to preservation outside of this site that further explain, expound on, or underscore what we are doing. These sites are where CCUS members stay up to date on their trades and skills.
PRO VS. CON
In the Pro Vs. Con section we go over many things to weigh out when choosing your products and methods in cemetery preservation and conservation.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
A collection of personal tools and items that CCUS members have devised over time to make work more aesthetically pleasing and easier. It’s a glimpse into our individual toolboxes.
Where we house downloadable pdf’s and FREE cemetery preservation related images for you to use. There is no such thing as too much cemetery awareness.
Where you will find the latest video links to cemetery preservation and restoration.
Where you can find all of the CCUS members and see the work they are doing. The images are worth a thousand words.
Where we post CCUS preservation classes and individual members classes. It’s how you can find a good preservation class to attend. There may be one closer to you than you think.
A place for all safety related issues found in cemeteries and in the preservation of cemeteries.
Where you will find the latest cemetery related articles written by our CCUS members.
This is where you can contact the CCUS
What good preservation looks like.