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


No programs scheduled at this time, but we will announce fall events soon!

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 Spring and Early Summer 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 spring seasons at Mount Auburn Cemetery!

Training a New Generation: Mount Auburn’s Horticulture Apprenticeship, 2020 Edition

September 1, 2020

Anna Moir, Grants & Communications Manager

Keeping a landscape like Mount Auburn beautiful and well-maintained does not happen without a skilled team of horticulture professionals. No matter the season, our staff are always putting their expertise to use figuring out the best ways to design, plant, and maintain the Cemetery with both aesthetics and sustainability in mind. We have therefore been highly concerned by recent trends of declining numbers of specialized training programs, especially at the university level, and fewer young professionals entering the field. Our response since 2014 has been to offer our own paid apprenticeship programs, supporting and training talented students and recent graduates seeking careers in public horticulture. Thanks to a group of generous donors, we have been able to expand the program up through to today.

From seasonal internships to year-long immersive experiences, our programs provide intensive practical experience across the different specialties within our Horticulture Department. This has been mutually-beneficial as our participants gain expertise in multiple aspects of our complex horticulture and landscape operations, while also bringing talent, enthusiasm, and fresh perspectives as they support our staff on their projects.

While the Covid-19 pandemic forced many changes to our workflow to ensure everyone’s safety, we were lucky to still be able to host two participants: Alex Wolfe, a recent graduate who had originally started as the 2018-2019 apprentice but extended to a second year, and Katelyn McVay, a student in the class of 2022 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who worked with us for the summer. As they get ready for a new semester and new opportunities, Alex and Katelyn sat down to reflect on their time here, and how it’s shaped them moving forward.

Alex Wolfe

Horticulture Apprentice Alex Wolfe

What brought her to Mount Auburn: I had worked in the field of horticulture for a bit in landscaping and greenhouse work, but wanted to learn more about some other sectors of horticulture. I saw that Mount Auburn had a rotating position where you get a taste of each of the departments in a year’s time. So I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to get a better idea of what I would like to specialize in moving forward.

Favorite experiences: I think my favorite projects and highlights of my time here have been when I’m involved in planting projects. The main project I worked on last year and am involved in again this year are plantings in Consecration Dell and the North Dell Meadows. It was a great leadership opportunity and learning experience working with a contractor and using an architectural planting plan. I also loved that the focus of that area involves the use of native plants.

Learning new skills: Since beginning work here, my plant identification skills have exponentially grown, and I have obtained my Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist certification. My favorite department that I worked in was Plant Records. I’ve gained a good bit of taxonomic knowledge, experience working with a database, and exposure to GIS work.

Favorite spot at Mount Auburn: My favorite place is easily the Dell. I loved working on projects for this area, and love that it’s focused on habitat restoration and planting natives.

Future plans: Working with native plants in the Dell got me thinking more about the ecological side of things and working in plant records with taxonomy really sparked my interest in systematics and evolution. This fall I am starting my Master’s in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. I hope to carry out work with the overall goal of plant conservation, in whatever capacity that may be.

Katelyn McVay

Katelyn McVay

What brought her to Mount Auburn: Prior to applying here, Mount Auburn was my favorite natural space to visit while in Boston. I loved how Mount Auburn combined a rich history of landscapes and architecture with beautiful formal and natural gardens. I was extremely excited when I found out about the internship, and I was definitely drawn to the program due to the great opportunities, staff, and landscapes here.

Favorite experiences: I would have to say that one of my favorite projects that I worked on this summer was the garden in front of Story Chapel. My team and I planted everything in that area during my first week on the job, and it was a really exciting introduction to my position here. It was amazing to see how landscape architecture and design and horticulture came together to create something so beautiful and eye-catching in the front part of Mount Auburn.

Learning new skills: During this summer, besides working on the horticulture team, I also spent some time working at the greenhouse. While working there, I was introduced to a variety of plant propagation techniques. Prior to this experience, I didn’t fully understand how interesting and creative plant propagation could be. This learning experience at the greenhouse taught me how cool plants can be and skills that I’ll be able to use on my own plants and in my classes.

Favorite spot at Mount Auburn: My favorite place at Mount Auburn has to be Willow Pond. The scenery around that area is so peaceful, and it’s a place where I often found myself connecting with nature the most. Particularly, I really admire the tree selection and placement around Willow Pond and the sculpture and seating area on top of the hill.

Future plans: I plan to hopefully pursue a graduate degree in the plant sciences or in landscape architecture. This summer really helped me to discover my passion for plants and landscapes, and the professional and personal skills I have learned over the summer have reinforced my academic and career goals. I had such an amazing time here, and I’m so fortunate that Mount Auburn allowed me to pursue my passions and taught me how to apply the skills I learn in the classroom to the real world. For more information, please contact Jenny Gilbert at

Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata

August 28, 2020

It was late in September when you took me

To that amazing garden, hidden in the city,

Tranquil and complicated as an open hand, …

                                                – May Sarton

For many of us, September, with its return of school-days, has become a de facto end of summer.  One late-blooming plant, that always extends the lushness of summer flowers, well past Labor Day, is the Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata.

The genus Hydrangea, within the family HYDRANGEACEAE, includes over 70 species of flowering plants, native to south, and eastern Asia, and North, and South America. Hydrangeas are divided into three major groups of plants: vines; shrubs with the flower inflorescences as round, or conical clusters; and shrubs with flat-topped inflorescences. Hydrangea paniculata, with flowers in elongated, conical, terminal clusters, is native to China and Japan, and was introduced into western cultivation in 1861, by Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866), German physician, and notable plant collector.


Open Position: Preservation Craftsperson

August 23, 2020


The Preservation Craftsperson participates in all stages of monument repairs and preservation, re-setting monuments, foundation repairs and new foundation installations, and other preservation based masonry repairs, assists in preservation and conservation work and general preservation maintenance work throughout the cemetery. The Preservation Craftsman ensures all work on site appropriately reflects the Statement of Preservation Values and Commitments approved by the Trustees of the Cemetery on December 12, 2007, and is performed in accordance with appropriate standards and best practices in preservation and conservation.  


*Perform work on historic masonry throughout the cemetery including mausoleums, monuments and other grave markers and assist with project assessment of materials and conditions.

*Perform preservation and contemporary carpentry projects.

*Perform repairs to cast iron fences.

*Assist in the management of the Preservation Services Building workshop keeping tools and equipment maintained and functioning properly and ensure that materials are stocked and stored in an organized and safe manner.

*Assist and communicate effectively with onsite contractors.

*Assist with surveying the cemetery grounds for loose, leaning or potentially unsafe memorials, mausoleums, lot fences, etc.

*Assist with record keeping, maintaining field notes of work performed and photo documentation and the input of this information by computer into the appropriate preservation department database.

*Must adhere to all safety rules and procedures and utilize appropriate protective equipment and guards. Bring all workshop and job site safety concerns to the attention of direct supervisor or member of the safety committee.

*Ability to operate a variety of power tools safely and effectively.

*Work cooperatively with members of other departments and act as a “team player”, assisting other staff as necessary when short-handed or requiring additional help.  Among other things, assist with snow removal, facilities maintenance, and/or the set-up or breakdown of chapels for memorial services, meetings or events.

*Present a good professional image in dress and grooming. Remain respectful of the sacred and contemplative nature of the Cemetery always and be respectful, courteous and helpful to all visitors.


*High School diploma required and some college level courses desirable.

*Valid driver’s license required.

*Minimum of one year of practical preservation experience required.

*Two years of preservation training or the equivalent of preservation field work or schooling.

*Ability to identify stone types, evaluate conditions and recommend repairs and treatments.

*Ability to balance efficient maintenance needs with sensitive preservation concerns.

*English language reading, writing and speaking skills required. Knowledge of Spanish language desirable.

*Ability to communicate effectively with cemetery staff, lot owners, visitors and outside contractors or vendors.

*Ability to be flexible as work demands change.

*Must be able to operate a variety of hand and power tools safely and effectively including but not limited to cordless and corded drills, circular saw, table saw, miter saw, angle grinder, reciprocating saw, and bench grinder.

*Basic computer skills required and the ability to use a mouse and/or standard keyboard and computer equipment. 


*Ability to access all areas of the Cemetery grounds and buildings including walking up and down stairs, entering confined spaces, and navigating varied terrain.

*Ability to climb and work from all manner of ladders, scaffolding, and aerial work platforms.

*Ability to move both within a workshop and normal office environment.

*Ability to bend, walk, kneel, stoop, crouch, stand and reach over head for long periods of time. 

*Ability to lift and carry heavy materials (maximum 80 lbs.).

*May be required to work outdoors in any season or weather condition.

*Work can be stressful especially during busy seasons.

All employees of Mount Auburn Cemetery are “at will’ employees and must adhere to Mount Auburn’s “Code of Conduct.”

Mount Auburn Cemetery is an equal-opportunity employer.  It does not discriminate in employment opportunities on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religion, gender, national origin, age, pregnancy, citizenship status, physical or mental ability, military status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law.

To apply please submit a cover letter and resume, as MS Word documents, by email to stating the job title in the subject line.  You can also mail a cover letter and resume to Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, Attention:  Human Resources.  No telephone calls please.

Self Guided Tour Handout: Woman’s Right to Vote

August 18, 2020

Download a Self-Guided Walk in Mount Auburn Cemetery to Commemorate
the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

On August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote. Learn about the women buried at Mount Auburn who fought for women’s suffrage. Click below to download the PDF.

by Rev. Rosemarie Smurzynski