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Apply to Mount Auburn’s Artist-in-Residence Program!

October 27, 2021

Our next application deadline is February 1, 2022 for Spring/Winter 2022-2023 residencies.

In recognition of the talented artists inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery, and as part of our Artist-in-Residence program, the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery (FOMAC) is awarding a small number of grants in 2022 to support artist projects. The grant must result in a deliverable product, program, or event that is created for and unique to Mount Auburn Cemetery. Planning grants will also be considered for larger projects to be completed in 2023, and funded projects may be scaled up. For questions, please contact Jenny Gilbert at  

Award amount: $500 – $2,500

Application due date: February 1, 2022

Notification date: March 8, 2022

Project start date: April 1, 2022

End date: March 31, 2023

2022 Mini-grant application

Learn more about our Artist-in-Residence Program >>

Support our Artist-in-Residence Program.

Climate Speaker Series

October 15, 2021

The dangers brought on, at least in part, by our warming climate are too numerous to ignore. Mount Auburn’s Climate Speaker Series provides a platform for local researchers, academics, public officials, business and non-profit leaders, and volunteer organizations to share with the public their work to investigate, mitigate, and adapt to the threats of our warming climate.

Learn more about the previous talks in the Climate Speakers Series below.

Fighting for Our Future

In conversation with Mothers Out Front

An adult and three children inspect a tree with white bark. They are holding papers in their hands.

This panel discussion with four members of Cambridge Mothers Out Front includes inspirational stories of local climate activism. The mission of Mothers Out Front is to ensure a livable climate and sustainable future for generations ahead.

This event was held on October 6, 2021. View the recorded event >>>

Local Climate Change Preparedness

In conversation with Kara Runsten, John Bolduc, and Laurel Schwab

This panel discussion with three local and state climate leaders includes an overview of the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program and the efforts of Watertown and Cambridge to conduct vulnerability assessments and implement climate change preparedness and resiliency plans. Panelists also discuss the role of the urban forest and green infrastructure in addressing heat and flood risks.

This event was held on February 10, 2021. View the recorded event >>>

Climate Change & Henry David Thoreau

In conversation with Richard Primack

Henry David Thoreau was a climate change scientist! For the past 17 years, Professor Richard Primack and his team have been using Thoreau’s records from the 1850s and other Massachusetts data sources to document the earlier flowering and leafing out times of plants, the earlier flight times of butterflies, and the more variable response of migratory birds. Most noteworthy, plants in Concord are also changing in abundance due to a warming climate. This work has received extensive media coverage as an example of the biological effects of climate change and is now being extended to the neglected autumn season. What would Thoreau tell us to do about global warming if he were alive today?

This event was held on October 6, 2020. View the recorded event >>>

Funding for the Climate Speaker Series is provided in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Autumn Joy Sedum

October 5, 2021

No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace,
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
-John Donne

Expected autumnal beauty is usually delivered with striking leaf colors as with our tupelo, Franklin tree, fothergilla, Virginia sweetspire, and of course maples to cite just a few. Herein however we sing our praise for a late-bloomer with reliable deep-red or raspberry flowers amongst the surrounding cornucopia of fall foliage.

Autumn Joy Sedum, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is a lovely, award-winning (Royal Horticultural Society) herbaceous perennial. This is a hybrid originated in Germany between Sedum spectabile and Sedum telephium, which had the original name of ‘Herbstfreude’.


Support Monument Preservation – Gove & Tuckerman

October 1, 2021

Mount Auburn’s collection of monuments and funerary art gives meaning and symbolic significance to the Cemetery’s historic landscape. Dating from the early 19th century through to today, every memorial contributes to the qualities that help make this place of comfort and inspiration. The wide-ranging diversity represented in the monuments, from contemporary flush markers to lavish Victorian sculptures, helps create the aesthetic richness and unique texture of Mount Auburn’s designed landscape.

Preserving our historic monuments and buildings is a priority, and a challenge. After years of exposure to New England weather, many monuments, particularly marble ones, now require an extra level of care and maintenance to protect and stabilize them. Each year, several important monuments are selected for specialized conservation that goes beyond standard maintenance work. Currently, we are raising funds to support the preservation of two that are urgently in need of care: the Gove and Tuckerman monuments.

The Gove Family monument (Lot #2577 Spruce Avenue at Trefoil Path) depicts two sleeping children on a pedestal. The monument was carved in marble by sculptor William Freeley circa 1856.

The word cemetery was derived from a Greek word that means “sleeping place,” and the founders chose this reference carefully when naming Mount Auburn, which was designed to be a tranquil and beautiful place in contrast to the overcrowded burial grounds of the day. Victorian gravestones for children commonly featured images of sleeping children, and 19th-century artists used these figures to gently represent eternal rest. The sentimentality of the Victorian era led to a cult of childhood replete with symbols of children’s innocence and purity. In the 1850s, the mortality rates for children under 1 year were estimated at over 200 deaths per thousand, with much higher mortality rates for children under 5. The high rate of infant and childhood mortality contributed to the popularity of gravestone designs with symbols such as sleeping children, empty cradles, and lambs.


Woman in blue looks at tall brownstone monument
Curator Meg Winslow examines damage on the Tuckerman Monument 

Joseph Tuckerman (1778 – 1840) (Lot #222 Oak Avenue) was a Unitarian Pastor who devoted his life to city mission work. He graduated from Harvard College in the same class as Unitarian Minister William Ellery Channing (Lot #678, Greenbriar Path), and he roomed with Joseph Story (Lot #313 Narcissus Path). Tuckerman was one of the founders of the Boston Society for the Religious and Moral Improvement of Seaman (1812), believed to be the first aid society for sailors in the U.S. He also established the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, which still operates today.

Joseph Tuckerman’s monument, erected in the 1840s, is made of brownstone in a medieval style, with a bas relief portrait and gently curving hip roof. Part of what makes the monument significant is that it was designed by architect Hammatt Billings, and the portrait was by local carver Joseph Carew. It is signed at the base of the portrait by Carew, and at the base of the monument by Billings.


Donate today and join us in preserving our most significant monuments! Or contact Jenny Gilbert, Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement at 617-607-1970 or