I recently received a request for information on the preservation of tombstones.
And, while I have not used the organizations listed below, am providing this information as a public service.
Over the years, much damage has been done by avid photographers, using shaving cream or other substances.
Chemicals can cause a great deal of damage.
With the advances in digital photography, we can enhance an image, and do not need to apply anything to the stone which could irreparably damage it.
On a cloudy day, bring a flashlight.
I have long been a proponent of good old fashioned chalk, which is at least a natural substance.
In addition to documenting a gravestone using photography, many of us are faced with repairing stones after improper repairs have caused further damage -- concrete, caulk, sealers.
Sometimes the challenge to legibility indicates a need for wording to be re-incised.
None of these are tasks for amateurs.
So, for professional guidance, please consider the links below:
The Association for Gravestone Studies http://www.gravestonestudies.org/
The American Institute for Conservation of Artistic & Historic Works http://www.conservation-us.org/
Monument Conservation Collaborative http://mcc-monument-conservation.com/
Custom Building & Restoration Trades Directory http://www.restorationtradesdirectory.com/stone_restoration_conservation
Gravestone Preservation Info http://www.gravestonepreservation.info/
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