Gravestone conservation workshops planned

Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, Preservation Oklahoma, The Saline Preservation Association and The Ross Cemetery Association are hosting a two-day gravestone and cemetery monument conservation workshop at the Saline Courthouse in Rose on May 6 and Ross Cemetery in Park Hill on May 7 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A one-time fee of $25 is required to participate in the workshop.

The primary goal of the workshops will be to educate participants in all aspects of basic gravestone conservation. 

“The conservation workshops continue to build on the Cherokee Nation’s commitment to preservation,” said Molly Jarvis, Vice President of Cultural Tourism at Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “This will provide a unique opportunity for individuals to become involved in practical and historic conservation efforts for their family or community cemetery.”

Leading the conservation workshops is Jonathan Appell, a professional gravestone and masonry conservation specialist and member of the Preservation Trades Network.

Appell is an expert in cemetery preservation planning and will lead the hands-on, interactive training while covering topics on how to re-set stones, repair fragmented stones, appropriate repair materials, use of infill material, and methods for re-pointing and cleaning masonry.

“The localized program fits perfectly with the organization’s larger goal of preserving historic sites throughout Oklahoma,” said Katie Friddle, Executive Director at Preservation Oklahoma. “While directly benefiting the individuals and small towns participating in the workshop, this also achieves the larger goal of educating our state about tools and resources for preservation efforts.”

Appell will provide the tools and most materials for the workshops. A variety of gravestone conservation techniques will be taught including:

– The re-setting of a one-piece tablet stone, which may be in a badly leaning and/or sunken condition.
– The benefits and detriments of various types of epoxy in relation to their use on historic stone.
– How to join broken gravestone fragments together employing stone epoxy.
– A review of the materials required, and the process involved, in replacing eroded or lost stone with the use of a stone infill material.
– Historic Pointing mortars and the problems and issues associated with very hard Portland cement based mortars.
– The potential need and process for consolidation of weak and decayed gravestones.
– The philosophy of cleaning gravestones and safe-cleaning techniques on a stable gravestone.

Appell has performed gravestone preservation and planning projects on many historic cemeteries throughout the U.S., including the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.; The Granary in Boston; Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, N.Y.; The First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Greensboro, N.C.; and The New Haven Crypt in New Haven, Conn.

To register and pay the $25 fee to participate in the gravestone conservation workshop, please contact Preservation Oklahoma by phone at (405) 525-5325, e-mail at or visit Attendees are encouraged to participate in both days of the workshop and should bring a folding chair for comfort.

The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program presents four award-winning tours during the season that runs now through October and includes the Cherokee History Tour, Will Rogers History Tour, Civil War History Tour and Cherokee Old Settler Tour featuring authentic cultural sites and historic locations.

For ticketing, complete tour details and additional information on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program, and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop information, call (877) 779-6977 or visit