Two cemetery restoration workshops are being offered on May 20-21 for those interested in cemetery preservation. The full-day workshops will be held from 10 A. M. – 4 P. M. at Bethel Baptist Church, 10 Bethel Meadows Road in Caseyville, Illinois. Participants can register for either the Friday or Saturday workshop.
The workshop includes a morning classroom session followed by lunch and field work, so participants gain hands-on experience in restoring grave markers. Field work will be done at the historic Bethel Baptist Cemetery.
The expert instructors for the workshops are John Heider and Dawn Cobb. John is an accomplished cemetery preservation specialist with decades of experience. Dawn is an archaeologist specializing in cemetery preservation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The class is $75/person and includes the classes, resources, and lunch. Attendance is limited to 12 people per day. The last day to register is Friday, May 13. To register for the workshop, call the Illinois State Historical Society at 217-525-2781.
There are more than 150 cemeteries in Madison County alone, from small family plots with only a handful of graves to large cemeteries still active after more than a century. Most Madison County cemeteries were inventoried by the Madison County Genealogical Society beginning in the early1980s, but there are more, on private lands, that have not been recorded. Unfortunately, many of the older gravestones need attention from a trained restorer. If stones are cleaned improperly, they can be permanently damaged.
These workshops are available through the collaborative efforts of the Madison County Historical Society, St. Clair County Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society.