UAFS Students Hosting Cemetery Preservation Workshops Over The Summer

FORT SMITH (KFSM) - A group of students from a local college are helping to bring history back to life in one local town by preserving headstones at a historic cemetery.

The History Club at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith is hosting workshops this summer for anyone interested in learning or helping to preserve tombstones at Oak Cemetery, which is on Old Greenwood Road near Creekmore Park in Fort Smith.

A group of students started doing this about a year and half ago at the cemetery. They're hoping people throughout the area will start their own cemetery preservation project and do the same kind of work. They do this by taking brushes and all natural cleaner and brush all the algae off the thousands of headstones that sit on 30 acres of land in the cemetery.

According to organizer Jennifer Hardaway, "We are cleaning the headstones and we're getting all the biological growth off, then people are able to come out and read that data."

Some of the tombstones at Oak Cemetery are more than 100 years old. The students in this group are history buffs and don't want these people who are buried to be forgotten. "I don't think people think about it when they come to a cemetery that the cemeteries are the first example of museums," said Hardaway.

There will be a total of four workshops For people to learn how to properly preserve cemeteries.The workshops will be held from 8 a.m. to noon June 10, June 24, July 8 and July 22.