Gravestone Cleaning Project 2020

Gravestone Cleaning Initiative: Join Our Team!

The Westport Historical Society invites you to join our effort to preserve Westport’s cemeteries. Beginning in spring, we will host a series of regular gravestone cleaning events. It is a rewarding and therapeutic activity!

You can learn more about this project and other cemetery related initiatives including the plans for a tour of Westport cemeteries and volunteer opportunities 2 PM Saturday March 28 at the Westport Public Library.

SIGN UP HERE TO RECEIVE INFORMATION ABOUT GRAVESTONE CLEANING ACTIVITIES:

Gravestone Cleaning Sign Up

Todd Baptista admits his passion for cemeteries has been lifelong. A 52 year-old clinical pharmacist and town resident for 28 years, he remembers his mom bringing him for walks in a New Bedford cemetery early in life. The conservation and cleaning initiative of the Westport Historical Society is an ideal match for Todd’s passion.

“I loved history, and was fascinated by the old stones. Each was unique and intriguing and many told stories. With the harsh New England winters, a lot of stones have broken, become weather-beaten, or even knocked over by lawn mowers.    Some need significant maintenance, but a good number of them could simply use a good cleaning.”

“For me, these old cemeteries are like a free trip to an American history museum. As I am cleaning, I find myself thinking of the individual buried there.  The horse or ox drawn carts used to bring the coffins to the graves.  The men who hand-dug these final resting spaces.  The survivors and mourners and the carvers of these works of art that mark the graves.  As the years of algae and mildew and dirt roll off and the names and dates are exposed clearly and vividly, all those folks seem to come alive again for me.  It’s a very rewarding feeling.”

The Westport Historical Society plans to organize regular gravestone cleaning workshops in the spring and summer months.  You can learn more about this project and other cemetery related initiatives including the plans for a tour of Westport cemeteries and volunteer opportunities on Saturday March 28. See the calendar of events for details.