Featured Events: Graveyards & Cemetery Tours

Graveyard Tours Support an Interest in Local History and Cultural Studies

Graveyards are filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history. Everything from the names of buried people to the style of the stone can tell visitors something about the time period to which a headstone dates back. Photographing and sketching gravestones is a creative way to explore local cemeteries, alongside a self-guided or facilitated tour. Here are three featured guided tours for this haunted season:

Saturday, October 29, 2016. 11am-12pm: Cemetery walks are a spooky and educational activity for fall. This tour of the Forestdale Cemetery, lead by city historian Penni Martorell, will educate you through examples of monuments, markers, crypts, crosses and more. Learn about the history of Holyoke’s founding families, as well as some of the facts of death and dying in the 19th century. The tour meets at the Wistariahurstvisitor center. Reservations are required. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$)

Sunday, October 30, 2016. 2pm: Filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history, local cemeteries can provide visitors with a look deep into the past. “Gravestone Studies” is its own academic discipline overlapping with disciplines such as history and anthropology. Terry McMaster’s photography exhibition, “Ancient Gravestones of The Elbow/Palmer, Massachusetts, and Vicinity,” explored gravestones from an artistic perspective. In this closing exhibition lecture, he will discuss the Scots-Irish of the area captured in his artwork. This presentation at Palmer Historical and Cultural Center will examine the gravestones of Scots-Irish and will look at the impact those pioneers had on that landscape. 413-289-9295. 2072 Main Street. Three Rivers, MA.(FREE)

Monday, October 31, 2016. 2pm: Believe it or not, Halloween can be the perfect time to learn about local history. Even spooky cemeteries can be resources for learning about past residents of your town. You can start your Halloween celebrations with guided tours from representatives of Historic Deerfield. Participants will tour the Old Burying Ground and discover the history of the families that lived in Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield]

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