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Life Among the Dead: Case Studies of Public Outreach at The Green-Wood Cemetery and Laurel Hill Cemetery

Peters, Caroline

In recent years, public programming and outreach have become increasingly crucial pieces of historic site management, particularly as a means of gaining both visibility and financial stability. In the cases of Laurel Hill Cemetery, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, programming has been embraced as a means of helping to manage their aging sites. Both are examples of the rural cemetery type, featuring planned, manicured landscapes, eye-catching monuments, and winding paths, all intended to encourage 19th century visitors to leisurely stroll their grounds as places of open public space. As time has moved forward, Laurel Hill and Green-Wood have again been able to encourage visitors to see their grounds as a place of both leisure and reverence, harking back to their founding principles. Through a series of interviews with experts at each cemetery, along with historic research and analysis, this thesis examines the role of public outreach and programming in these cemeteries. Our experts give us insight into the decision-making process that makes the running of their cemetery programming possible, as well as some of the challenges that come with balancing such a complex, stakeholder-heavy site. This thesis highlights issues that historic cemeteries across the world share, and how other sites may hope to use the examples of Laurel Hill and Green-Wood’s public efforts as a guide to facing the future.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Weiss, Norman R.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 27, 2021