Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dearly Departing for the Dunmore Cemetery

I’m quite looking forward to October 7, 2012, when I’ll be attending the Dunmore Cemetery Tour, in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, hosted and presented by the Dearly Departed Players theatrical group. Thousands of people attended this annual event over a two-weekend period in the fall of 2011!

From the Dunmore Cemetery Tour Facebook page:

    Sunday, October 7  and 14, 2012
    2:00pm until 4:00pm
    Dunmore Cemetery,  400 Church Street,  Dunmore, PA 18512

    Join the Dearly Departed Players on their annual historical walking tour through the Dunmore Cemetery. With all new "stops" the "Players" will be joined by the students of Scranton Civic Ballet and the Genealogical Research Society.    No reservations are required, admission is free. For more information regarding the tour call 570-344-3819.

    Don't forget "Dinner with The Dearly Departed"on October 7th. This dinner is sponsored by the Dunmore Historical Society and will take place immediately following the tour at the Dunmore Civic Center on Monroe Avenue. Reservations are required, tickets are $8 and can be obtained by calling the Dunmore Historical Society at 558-1060. All proceeds from the dinner benefit the Dunmore Historical Society.

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, Pennsylvania
From what I’ve read and heard, the performers, sponsors, and coordinators do an incredible job with this program so I’m just DYING to see it! I was graciously invited by the coordinators to exhibit my artwork in the cemetery the first day of the tour (October 7), so I will be set up at the entrance at noon. I do hope to take in some of the tour, however!

For the occasion, I made cards and prints from images in the Dunmore Cemetery itself, and will exhibit these along with my cemetery photography from all over the United States (and Italy as well). I spent a few hours in the Dunmore Cemetery last fall and photographed many of the wonderful monuments, mausoleums, and headstones. I used about twenty of these photographs for the new work, examples of which you see in this article.

The Dunmore Cemetery is a wonderful Victorian masterpiece, meticulously cared for and interesting in so many ways. From the iron scrollwork on the mausoleum doors to the unusual monuments,  to the rolling hills that lead you back to the old section (1838) of the cemetery, there is something here for everyone − taphophiles, historians, nature-lovers, and those who just want a quiet place to think.

Headstones in the old section of the cemetery

Click to buy Julie Snell-Esty's book
No doubt some of the trees up there in northeast Pennsylvania will soon be donning their fall attire. Such will add to the pageantry of the Dearly Departed Players, as they (in Victorian dress) lead the audience through a two-hour tour of the lives of some of the cemetery’s residents, re-enacting interesting events in their lives. These “Stories in Stone,” as Players’ director Julie Snell-Esty calls them in her book of the same name, provide the script through which her cast fleshes out the lives of people who lived in the region.

Today, people “yearn to learn of their past” and to preserve their heritage, Esty says. The region’s ancestors include miners, soldiers, housewives, clerks, laborers, merchants, and artists – who “all played a significant role in the making of our history.” These people are no different than those of your own ancestors, wherever you live. While you might not recognize any of the personages addressed in the tour as celebrities or national heroes, they give one a sense of how everyone contributes in their own way to the “fabric of our history.” So even if you cannot attend either of the October 7 and 14 cemetery performances, I hope I’ve stirred up enough interest in you to at least visit the Dunmore Cemetery.

As a side note, Dearly Departed Players Julie Snell-Esty and Wendy Belaski’s “Grave Matters Funeral Exhibit” affords us a look at the history of mourning in the United States:
Grave Matters Funeral Exhibit 
    Saturday, October 27, 2012
    10:00am until 5:00pm
Mall at Steamtown, Second Floor, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
                Local historians and Dearly Departed Palyers Wendy Belaski and Julie Snell-Esty bring their curious collection of funeral and mourning memorabilia to Library Express! Players will be on hand and in historic costume to help explain photos and histories of mausoleum stained glass, vintage funeral fashion, and a whole collection of ephemera related to funerals and cemeteries. This is not to be missed! Schedule, 2-4 pm, dinner afterwards.


The Dunmore Cemetery Tour on Facebook
Scranton PA chamber of Commerce link to the Dunmore CemeteryTour