Know Thy Neighbor: “Merion Friends Meeting Burying Ground: Caring for a Quiet Landscape of Remembrance”
June 27 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pmFree
Join us in welcoming the Director of the National Park Service’s Monument Research & Preservation Program, Dennis Montagna, as our guest speaker.
This event is free and open to the public
To register click here. The Zoom link will be sent prior to the event.
Know Thy Neighbor is a continuing series of conversations intended to share our history as well as our current civic engagement with the community.
Merion Friends’ and other Quaker cemeteries are at once similar and very different from other burial places. They are spaces designed to remember Meeting members who have passed, but they do this in empathically simple and equitable ways. Usually, modest stones with only essential carved information mark burials. Set only slightly above grade, these stones can easily be swallowed up by the earth, or purposely buried by Meetings that have sometimes felt that even minimal commemoration is too much commemoration.
This presentation will consider Merion Friends Burying Ground, along with other Quaker burial sites, and discuss efforts that can be taken to preserve them. It will also look at efforts to preserve other area cemeteries to provide a window into what might be needed at Merion Friends. By doing this, we’ll see that simple grave markers usually require simple measures to preserve them, and they are measures that community members, with a little training and supervision, can perform themselves in honor of those who came before them.
Dennis Montagna directs the National Park Service’s Monument Research & Preservation Program. Based at the Park Service’s Northeast Region Office in Philadelphia, the program provides comprehensive assistance in the interpretation and care of historic cemeteries, outdoor sculpture and public monuments to managers of National Park sites and to other constituents nationwide.
Dennis holds a Ph.D in Art History from the University of Delaware and completed the ICCROM Architectural Conservation Course in Rome, Italy. He is a former chair of the American Institute for Conservation’s Architecture Specialty Group and currently serves as the President of the Association for Gravestone Studies. He was the 2018 recipient of that organization’s Harriette Merrifield Forbes Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Gravestone Studies.
Merion Friends Meeting