Spirits Alive Happenings

We Love Proper Stone Conservation

Joseph Thompson vs. Mary Ann Floyd

Joseph Thompson — Proper Conservation Techniques Mary Ann Floyd — Improper Conservation Techniques

Proper vs. Improper Conservation Techniques

Stone conservation techniques and materials are ever-evolving with improvements in technology regarding materials used to make repairs and what we learn through experience in monitoring the old repairs of stones. Spirits Alive volunteers and hired Eastern Cemetery conservators make it a priority to keep abreast of the most up-to-date gravestone conservation materials and techniques.

A good example of the work of Spirits Alive does can be seen prominently on Funeral Lane. Joseph Thompson’s marble headstone and base was uprighted, cleaned and mortared into place. The process and material has not altered the stone or damaged it and can be easily removed in the future should someone else need to re-do the repair.

Contrast this stone with that of Mary Ann Floyd right next door. Whoever worked on this stone had good intentions but may have created more problems by using improper materials and methods. In addition to being plain sloppy and ugly, the concrete will prove difficult to remove in order to improve the repair. For the best information on gravestone care and repairs, consult the Association for Gravestone Studies or the Maine Old Cemetery Association.

posted July 19, 2015

Eastern Cemetery Milestones

We conserve, maintain, and educate others about the Eastern Cemetery.

The Murch family plot after conservation Murch family plot before restoration

The Eastern Cemetery Murch family plot was restored
by trained Spirits Alive volunteers.

2014 was an amazing year for the Eastern Cemetery and Spirits Alive!

  • 90 grave markers were cleaned, straightened or repaired by our all-volunteer conservation crew, and we hired a professional conservator to lift and restore some heavier monuments.
  • Over 200 tourists enjoyed historic walking tours this summer, and their “excellent” reviews on TripAdvisor put us in the top 10 “Things to do in Portland!”
  • 350 people experienced Walk Among the Shadows evening performances, now considered one of the best October events in the city.
  • 300 attended Bartlett Adams tours and lectures, where they learned about this stonecutter whose Portland shop was responsible for 700 of the gravestones at Eastern Cemetery.
  • We worked closely with the city to have the floor and roof of the storage shed, also known as the “Dead House,” replaced, and installed a water line needed for our conservation work.
  • In addition, well-attended public lectures were held January through March, helping keep the focus on Eastern Cemetery during an otherwise “quiet” time of the year.

The money raised through friendships and donations keep us going. If you want to give the gift of friendship, you can use a credit or debit card through Paypal or send a check payable to: Spirits Alive PO Box 18209, Portland ME 04112 to donate to our work today. All funds go directly to improving and educating others about the Eastern Cemetery.

posted November 24, 2014

Friendships Make Fun Gifts for Only $5!

Support the Eastern Cemetery with your holiday giving and through the year

Workday fun

Cemetery Workday! Photo by Christina White

You have to admit that giving your friends and family members a Spirits Alive Friendship would be a very creative and unexpected holiday gift! For only $5 each, you can help Spirits Alive keep the Eastern Cemetery alive for generations to come and join as a Friend. Through your support we will continue to:

  • Keep the gates open – encouraging the community to explore its open and safe green space
  • Offer education about the cemetery and its residents to the public – through tours, lectures, and events
  • Encourage and support the city in keeping the site clean and safe for visitors of all ages
  • Preserve this incredible outdoor museum and sacred historic landscape

Go to: www.spiritsalive.org/join to take advantage of this offer today!

posted November 7, 2014