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Posted on: October 4, 2018

National Park seeks volunteers to uncover Tennessee’s military history at Stones River Oct. 20

Stones River National Battlefield

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s HOPE Crew, a program connecting people to preservation trades and breathing new life into historic landmarks, has announced an expert-led, volunteer-driven, hands-on project at Stones River National Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to clean and preserve the site’s nationally significant headstones.

On Saturday, October 20, 2018, from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., in partnership with the National Park Service and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, HOPE Crew project participants will take part in Stones River National Cemetery Volunteer Day, a unique opportunity for the public, regardless of skill or ability, to gain a deeper understanding of the captivating layers of history at the final resting place for thousands of veterans.

“We’re looking forward to enlisting the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and exploring the stories behind this iconic battlefield landscape,” said Monica Rhodes, director of the National Trust’s HOPE Crew program. “Volunteer Day at Stones River National Cemetery is an excellent example of how teaching valuable preservation skills and techniques can help a community come together to sustain a hallowed place. These efforts are especially critical in light of the deferred maintenance challenges facing our public parks and cemeteries across the country.”

The 111th United States Colored Infantry began re-interring the remains of Union soldiers in Stones River National Cemetery in 1865. The cemetery became part of Stones River National Battlefield in 1927 and is one of 14 national cemeteries managed by the National Park Service. More than 6,100 Union soldiers who perished during the American Civil War, of which 2,562 are unknown, lie in the 12-acre cemetery along with nearly 1,000 veterans who served after the Civil War through the 1970s.

“We’re excited to offer the public an opportunity to connect with this hallowed ground through volunteerism,” said Stones River National Battlefield Chief Ranger Jim Lewis. “We hope our work together on October 20th will inspire our volunteers to continue their service here or at other sites in our community.”

During the one-day volunteer event, supported by a donation of preservation-friendly cleaning products from D/2 Biological Solutions, Inc. and Cemetery Preservation Supply LLC, community members (aged 14 and older) will be trained on how to clean and preserve the deteriorating headstones, which are suffering from biological staining, the effects of air pollution, and misalignment. Families, genealogists, photographers, historians, anthropologists, outdoor enthusiasts, active military, veterans, students, and all curious individuals will find something to learn and love among the old stones—already confirmed, members of the Florida-based The Good Cemeterian Historical Preservation Project will be joining and sharing their experiences as well.

“We’re proud to support another HOPE Crew project on national public land,” said Ted Kinnari, president of D/2 Biological Solutions, Inc. “We value the contribution of volunteers and their effort to ensure that the remembrance of those buried at Stones River National Cemetery is maintained for the next generation of Americans.”

James “Rusty” Brenner of Cemetery Preservation Supply, LLC said, “We are looking forward to training volunteers and students while sharing our knowledge and passion for historic preservation.”

Since the start of the program in 2014, the HOPE Crew program (named for “Hands-On Preservation Experience”) has completed more than 165 projects, trained more than 750 young people in preservation trades, and recruited over 3,500 volunteers to protect historic structures on public lands, including: Chalmette National Cemetery in Louisiana; Custer National Cemetery in Montana; and Raleigh National Cemetery in North Carolina.

For more information about Stones River National Cemetery Volunteer Day and to register as a volunteer, please visit: www.savingplaces.org/stones-river-national-cemetery

About HOPE Crew

A program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, HOPE Crew trains young people in preservation crafts while helping to protect historic cultural sites on public lands. Named for “Hands-On Preservation Experience,” the program links preservation projects to the national youth corps movement, as well as launch special volunteer efforts nationwide. Since the start of the program in 2014, HOPE Crew has completed more than 165 projects, trained over 750 young people in preservation trades, performed more than $18 million of preservation work, and recruited thousands of volunteers to protect places that are significant to their communities. www.savingplaces.org/hope-crew

About Stones River National Battlefield

Stones River National Battlefield is the site of one of Lincoln's military victories for the North, which bolstered support of the Emancipation Proclamation. A fierce battle took place at Stones River between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. General Bragg's Confederates withdrew after the battle, allowing General Rosecrans and the Union army to control middle Tennessee. Although the battle was tactically indecisive, it provided a much-needed boost to the North after the defeat at Fredericksburg. The 600-acre National Battlefield includes Stones River National Cemetery, established in 1865, with more than 6,100 Union graves; and the Hazen Brigade Monument, believed to be the oldest, intact Civil War monument still standing in its original location. Visitors may enjoy the park's resources on foot or by bike from sunrise to sunset. The park visitor center is open from 9 AM through 5 PM daily except for Thanksgiving Day and December 25th. www.nps.gov/stri

About the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training 

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training helps preservationists find better tools, better materials, and better approaches to conserving buildings, landscapes, sites, and collections. It conducts research and testing in its own laboratories, provides cutting edge training around the U.S., and supports research and training projects at universities and nonprofits. NCPTT pushes the envelope of current preservation practice by exploring advances in science and technology in other fields and applying them to issues in cultural resources management. www.ncptt.nps.gov

About D/2 Biological Solutions, Inc.

D/2 Biological Solutions, Inc. developed a biodegradable, non-toxic, and easy to use liquid that removes stains from mold, algae, mildew, lichens, and air pollutants. D/2 Biological Solution is effective for removing harmful biological and air pollutant staining from many building materials including masonry, marble, granite, limestone, brownstone, travertine, terra cotta, concrete, stucco, wood, canvas, and vinyl & aluminum siding. www.d2bio.com


Register for Stones River Cemetery Volunteer Day
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