Virtual ways to enjoy the Cemetery

May 1, 2020

Follow Us on Social Media

Our staff continue to regularly post historical and horticultural highlights on our social medial channels. Make sure you are following us to learn more about the may facets of Mount Auburn and to get our latest news: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Join a Virtual Public Program


Check the calendar to register for an upcoming virtual program!

Watch Recordings of previously held Virtual Programs:

These programs have already happened, however you can watch the recorded videos here at a time of your own choosing!

Explore our Archives

Explore our Online Collections Database. This online catalog allows you to explore Mount Auburn’s Historical Collections & Archives. Holdings include a wide range of prints, photographs, books, ephemera, maps, plans, decorative arts, fine art, and more than 3,500 linear feet of archival records.

An Invitation to Help Transcribe Our History – From Home! Mount Auburn is pleased to announce an exciting new transcription project that welcomes your participation in making our history more accessible. The Cemetery’s Historical Collections & Archives staff have preserved our most significant archival documents, but many of these are hand-written 19th-century letters and reports that are not easy to read. By transcribing these materials, researchers will be able to read and search across thousands of pages for the first time. That’s where you come in!

Learn more about Mount Auburn’s Significant Monuments in our online exhibit featuring thirty monuments of historic and artistic significance.

Our digital archive includes all of the past issues of Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn.

Be Inspired

Explore the final projects of Mount Auburn’s former Artists-in-Residence: – In a multimedia project that includes twenty nine videos, photographs, and words, Mount Auburn’s first Artist-in-Residence Roberto Mighty celebrates the seasons and the stories of Mount Auburn.

Spring & Autumn Suites – Twelve classical works composed by Mount Auburn’s second Artist-in-Residence Mary Bichner and recorded at WGBH Studios draw inspiration from the landscape’s seasonal colors and the poetry of its notable residents

Learn more about our many facets

Stay Home Sweet Auburn: an exciting new video series started by The Friends of Mount Auburn during the pandemic. We are continuing to expand our virtual programming so you can learn from home!

Listen to the recent Talk Nerdy Podcast interview with Paul Kwaitkowski, Mount Auburn’s Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability Manager on Citizen Science to learn more about our efforts to create beneficial wildlife habitat.

Browse Mount Auburn’s website and read Notable People Biographies and History, Horticulture, and Wildlife Highlights, or learn about Environmental Stewardship initiatives.

Take a Deep Breath

View a peaceful and calming Autumn at Mount Auburn slideshow with music from Composer-in-Residence Mary Bichner.

Watch a serene scene slideshow from Mount Auburn with inspiring music!

Relax with a Mount Auburn Moment of Zen. Mount Auburn’s grounds may be closed to the public to keep our staff and families burying loved ones safe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bit of springtime at Mount Auburn.

Watch a contemplative concert with Satigata, performed in Story Chapel on April 9, 2017 and recorded by Cambridge Community Television.

Enjoy memories of previous fall seasons at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

And here are some more recent photos!

Red-twig dogwoods

February 25, 2021

Horticulture Highlight: Red-twig dogwoods, Cornus sericea, Cornus alba

Everyone longs for love’s tense joy

and red delights…

              -Jane Kenyon

A sampling of red delights from past Horticulture Highlights could include blossoms of rufous-tinted hellebores, redbud, tree peony, azalea, rose, rhododendron, cardinal flower and mums, with the added autumn foliage of maple, franklin tree, Virginia sweetspire, sourwood, tupelo and fothergilla as a partial list.

However, none of the above provide their “red delight” display during our winters. So we look towards our red-stemmed or red-twig dogwoods, members of the genus Cornus. Many are familiar with America’s springtime flowering dogwood or Asia’s summer flowering kousa dogwood, fewer may also know the indistinctly named cornelian cherry. These three small trees are arborescent members of the botanical genus Cornus which includes far more numerous shrub species. Recent and ongoing taxonomic examinations allow the ambiguous fact stating there are 30 to 60 species within this genus.

None the less, herein we introduce two frequently planted species, each with notable red stem color during winter months, Cornus sericea, redosier dogwood of North America and Cornus alba, Tatarian dogwood from Siberia, Manchuria and northern Korea. Nearly indistinguishable, Michael Dirr, author of the inimitable Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, states therein “…the red-stemmed dogwoods are difficult to separate by winter characteristics especially as small plants and one is never absolute as to which species he/she is purchasing…”. The dominant winter characteristic referred to is a discernable color transformation of their woody stems from a greenish to a blood red, with many cultivated varieties exhibiting varied hues from bright coral to bold crimson to beet-red.  All shades of red-twigs are strikingly enhanced when surrounded by snow.


blessed snow,

comes out of the sky

like bleached flies.

The ground is no longer naked.

The ground has on its clothes.

The trees poke out of sheets…

              -Anne Sexton

There are strong similarities in the appearance of leaves, flowers and fruits of these two species. The branching patterns are opposite as with most members (not all) of this genus. The 2-5-inch-long leaves of both species are smooth-edged (entire margin) with 5-6 pairs of veins curving parallel to the margins. Both provide an attractive reddish-purple fall foliage.

Unlike the large petal-like bracts found on flowering dogwood and kousa dogwood, flowers on these two species as with many other dogwoods appear as small heads of multiple whitish-yellow flowers forming a flat top referred to as a cyme. When successfully fertilized these flowers later develop ½-inch, whitish/slightly bluish fruits (drupes) that are relished by many bird species and hence are not long persistent.

On a winter visit to Mount Auburn look for our Red-twig dogwoods on Story Road, Willow Pond Knoll, Rosebay Avenue, above Narcissus Path, Anemone Path and off Meadow Road.

Open Position: Assistant Superintendent of Grounds

February 24, 2021

Mount Auburn Cemetery is seeking an enthusiastic individual to fill the new position of Assistant Superintendent of Grounds.


Mount Auburn Cemetery comprises 175 acres and is situated in Watertown and Cambridge near Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1831, and now visited by over 200,000 people each year, Mount Auburn is a National Historic Landmark, recognized as the first “rural cemetery” and the inspiration for the American Parks Movement during the 19th century. As an active cemetery, Mount Auburn inspires all who visit, comforts the bereaved, and commemorates the dead in a landscape of exceptional beauty. As an accredited arboretum, Mount Auburn features 5,000 trees and more than 20,000 plants overall.

Role and Responsibilities:

The Horticulture Department at Mount Auburn Cemetery is seeking an enthusiastic individual to fill the new position of Assistant Superintendent of Grounds. Reporting to the Superintendent of Grounds, this person will be responsible for managing the day-to-day grounds maintenance and horticulture operations. They will be responsible for ensuring that Mount Auburn’s high standards are upheld with respect to ongoing maintenance of the trees, shrubs, flowers, groundcovers, and grass, while encouraging professionalism and creativity amongst staff.

To ensure the efficient and effective functioning of all departmental operations and programs, the Assistant Superintendent will communicate regularly with the Supervisors of Arboriculture, Gardening, Grass/Grounds Maintenance, Greenhouse, and Vehicle & Equipment Services to coordinate all activities. Responsible for enhancing safety in the workplace by ensuring that all employees under their supervision are properly trained to use any required equipment and are following all safety rules and procedures. Responsible for scheduling, preparing and coordinating the placement of holiday tributes amongst the Cemetery Services staff, Greenhouse staff and Grounds Staff. Responsible for managing the Recycling Area operations by incorporating the best sustainable practices and serving as a model for other organizations to follow.

Qualifications and physical demands include but are not limited to:

· Five or more years of experience in the horticulture field, with college degree in horticulture or related field preferred.

· Ability to manage, supervise and effectively communicate with a diverse team of horticulturists to prioritize and complete all work at high standards.

· Ability to perform a wide variety of horticulture tasks such as: grounds maintenance, turf care, gardening, arboriculture, greenhouse production, composting and equipment operation (backhoe, front end loader, Bobcat, aerial lift).

· Must be organized, detail oriented, and experienced with managing a large staff, and must be a good problem solver.

· Ability to perform and manage snow removal operations at all times including weekends and evenings during winter months. Knowledge of equipment, materials, and staffing needs to handle all size snow storms.

· Experience and knowledge in compost production and managing a compost/recycling operation desirable.

· Must be able to communicate successfully with all levels of employees and with outside contractors, lot owners, customers and visitors.

· Must have a Massachusetts hoisting license (Class A preferred).

· Commercial Pesticide Applicators licenses in Shade Trees and Ornamentals (Category 36) and Turf (Category 37) preferred.

· The physical demands of this position include routinely lifting up to 80 lbs., bending, walking and standing for long periods of time, and working outside in all seasons and variable weather conditions.

How to Apply:

Please send a cover letter stating your career goals and objectives with a current resume, as Microsoft Word documents, and include “Assistant Superintendent of Grounds” in the subject area, to:

Or by mail to:

Human Resources
Mount Auburn Cemetery
580 Mount Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No telephone calls please.

Mount Auburn Cemetery is an equal opportunity employer.

Citizen Science Training 2021

February 23, 2021

The mission of the Citizen Science Naturalist Program is to create a community of well-trained volunteers to support biodiversity research at Mount Auburn, as well as at other sites. The volunteers will receive training from a diverse group of local experts that will enable each volunteer to become a capable research assistant and informal educator to the public.

The Naturalist Training Program will include nine sessions covering flora and fauna, as well as field note taking, nature photography, informal educator training and the use of apps for crowd-sourced science. These sessions will establish a foundation on which biodiversity study can be built. Additional learning opportunities will be provided throughout the year, including tutorial walks and field trainings for the implementation of research projects. All current Covid-19 protocols will be enforced during field visits.

All classroom trainings will be held virtually via zoom in 2021. Zoom Invites will be sent out one week before each virtual classroom training. Contact Paul Kwiatkowski, Director of Urban Ecology & Sustainability: to get on the email list. (more…)

Local Climate Change Preparedness

February 16, 2021

This virtual Climate Speaker Series event was held on February 10, 2021.

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.


Kara Runsten is the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Manager at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, where she administers the MVP grant program that provides support for cities and towns in Massachusetts in planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects. Kara has experience working in the government, consulting, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University and a Master in City Planning from MIT.

John Bolduc is an environmental planner with the City of Cambridge Community Development Department where he manages climate change initiatives. He manages the City’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and the Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience Plan; coordinates the Climate Protection Action Committee, an advisory group to the City Manager on local climate change policy and implementation; administers the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance; and participates in a range of other municipal sustainability efforts. John has been with the City of Cambridge since 1997 and has over 30 years of experience in municipal sustainability and environmental protection. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Arts from Tufts University in Urban and Environmental Policy.

Laurel Schwab is the Senior Environmental Planner and Conservation Agent for the Town of Watertown. Having been with Watertown since September 2019, she has led the Town through its MVP planning grant process in 2020 and will lead the Town’s “Resilient Watertown” Climate and Energy Plan process in the coming months. Laurel has spent the last decade working on sustainability, climate change, and community development in a variety of public and private roles. She has experience in formulating plans with an eye towards implementation, having worked as a consultant for communities eager for quick action on pressing issues. Laurel has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from New York University and a Master in Urban Planning degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

About the Massachusetts MVP Program

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program (MVP) provides support for cities and towns in Massachusetts to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects. The state awards communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop action-oriented resiliency plans. Communities who complete the MVP program become certified as an MVP community and are eligible for MVP Action grant funding and other opportunities.

About the Climate Speaker Series

Mount Auburn Cemetery’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 >>>

Funding for this program was provided in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.