National Cemetery Monuments Assessment


The National Cemetery Administration (NCA), a branch of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, oversees over 100 national cemeteries throughout the United States. These cemeteries serve as the burial place for over 3 million US veterans and their family members. The earliest cemetery was chartered in 1862, although some monuments predate this. These cemeteries are ordered and dignified spaces, featuring a diverse assortment of honorific monuments, memorial sculptures, and architectural features.

Our team was contracted in 2009 to participate in a nationwide survey and assessment of these monuments. As a result, we assessed 12 monuments located throughout the southeast US. The goals of the survey were to identify the conditions and indicate their likely causes; develop treatment recommendations and budgetary cost estimates to perform the work and to photo-document the monuments and site with high-resolution digital images.

The assessment highlighted diverse monument types, such as low vaults and pyramids including both obelisks and triumphal arches, dedicated to a variety of events and veterans groups. A wide variety of materials were examined, including brick, marble, granite, limestone, coquina limestone and bronze, and masonry memorials up to 36’ tall.

These assessments will help the NCA understand the condition of their collection and allow monuments in the most dire condition be easily identified for treatment.