Stones That Speak: Cemetery lecture in Portsmouth Saturday


PORTSMOUTH — Stones can speak, and you can find that out by yourself at an upcoming Portsmouth Historical Society presentation.

From 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13, the Society will welcome historic preservation specialist Jacob Begin, who will present “Stones That Speak: The Portsmouth Cemetery.”

The lecture and workshop, which will focus on the importance of preserving local cemeteries and share techniques for digitizing historic gravestones, will be presented on the site of the burial grounds. Participants will meet at the Portsmouth Cemetery on Turnpike Road near Dexter Street.

Mr. Begin, an accomplished photographer and expert on Rhode Island gravestones, will demonstrate how to take compelling images of these stones using simple tools such as a digital camera or cell phone, a mirror and an umbrella.

Mr. Begin is a historic preservation specialist with the R.I. Department of Transportation and a former member of the board of directors at the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society.

This will be the first information session for members and other local volunteers who are interested in assisting the Society and the Town Planning Department in creating a catalog of cemeteries and historic homes in Portsmouth in support of the town's Comprehensive Community Plan. 

If you’d like to help out with these projects, contact the Society at for more information.

The rain date for the event is Sunday, May 14.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.