Southeast students preserve Cape Girardeau cemeteries

Students learn about Cemetery Preservation

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Students in Southeast Missouri State University's Historic Preservation Program held a workshop at the New Lorimer/ Fairmont Cemetery on Saturday where they helped preserve the cemetery.

This was the second half of a two-part workshop on cemetery preservation. The first was a lecture held on April 11. It focused on the importance of preserving a cemetery and the techniques used in the field.

Part two of the workshop on Saturday, involved hands-on cleaning and preservation of cemetery stones with certain preservation methods.

"The focus a lot of times is on the built environment and saving the buildings," SEMO Historic Preservation Program graduate student Jenn Hardaway said. "Cemeteries are also a great resource of heritage and cultural resources that need to be saved as well. So just teaching the students that there are more resources out than just a building with a roof and four walls, that we have other materials that we need to save as well."

SEMO Preservation Historic Program student Jake Williams said he is passionate about wanting to help clean and preserve the headstones.

"I just like to preserve history," Williams said. "Each one of these grave stones has a part of people's story and we are just doing the best we can to preserve that."

"It was important to come and preserve these stones because they are somebody's legacy written on that stone," Hardaway added. "If we are doing the work to help preserve that legacy and let it be seen to the public, then that also opens up the door for other people to come research, whether it's genealogist or archaeologists. There's kind of a multi-process with that."

Williams hopes more people and more generations down the line will get involved to help preserve these cemeteries as well.

"A lot of times, preservation doesn't really get a good enough spotlight for people," Williams said. "Our age, we are trying to get the younger generation involved in it and let them see that it's not just for old people that enjoy it."

During the first weekend of May, students will also engage in a cemetery walking tour at the Old Lorimer Cemetery in Cape Girardeau as part of preservation month.

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