Cleaning Headstones: Vermont Old Cemetery Association

I am taking this opportunity to thank the Vermont Old Cemetery Association for being amenable to my filming their back-breaking work.

I spent the morning, 8am to Noon, with the people who volunteer for the Vermont Old Cemetery Association. We were in Elmwood Avenue Cemetery in Burlington, Vermont. I watched and filmed them repairing and cleaning headstones. In this video, you’ll learn more about the cleaning piece.

This was one of the most interesting filming assignments I have ever done! Everyone graciously answered my questions. And understand the temperature was in the upper 80s Fahrenheit. Plus, the humidity was in the upper 80% as well. It was an absolute scorcher that day!

From their website:

“About VOCA

The Vermont Old Cemetery Association (VOCA) was founded in 1958 to encourage the restoration and preservation of neglected and abandoned cemeteries in the State of Vermont. Vermont cemeteries date back to the 1700’s. They are memorials to the people who endured hardships to settle Vermont when it was a Republic, and to their many descendants. In many instances, there are no surviving members of families to watchdog and preserve their family gravestones. It is up to us to safeguard these sacred emblems.

Perpetual care means very little – an occasional mowing, no repairs. Marble, granite, slate, and soapstone do not last forever; rock is a layered material subject to climatic changes. It is porous and can split. A gravestone can deteriorate into several pieces when the soil shifts under the base and the stone tilts and eventually falls. VOCA has been instrumental in improving or reclaiming many old gravestones, But there is much more work to be done…”-

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