One of the topics I cover when I give presentations or workshops about gravestone cleaning is about permissions. Over the next few blog entries I'll provide answers for some of the more commonly asked questions with answers I received directly from the Wisconsin Historical Society - Historic Preservation Division. If you're not cleaning a gravestone in WI, check with the state historic preservation office in your state because similar rules will apply.
1. Must I have permission to inventory, clean, or reset a gravestone or to remove vegetative growth from within a cemetery?
Answer: Yes. You must obtain permission from 1) the property owner to enter the cemetery itself if you must cross private land to access the cemetery, and 2) the Trustees of the cemetery to do any work with a gravestone (such as cleaning) or within the cemetery (such as brush removal). "Trustees" means the recognized representatives of the original incorporators, board of directors, affiliated church, or cemetery association.