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Through diligent research and transcription from historical records, volunteers of Save Austin’s Cemeteries and the Austin Genealogical Society created a database of information about Oakwood residents.

This information is used to create digital maps of Oakwood Cemetery that include audio, photo, video, historical links, namesake maps, and nativity maps. We expect this scholarship will continue for a very long time with the help of staff and volunteers.

Story Maps - Geolocated Digital History Exhibits

 To Elevate

To Elevate demonstrates the legacy of Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU (Historic Black College/University) in Austin, Texas. The exhibit tells the story of those that planted the seeds of Huston-Tillotson’s beginnings, those that carefully tended and spent their life’s energy on managing, improving, and building upon HT, as well as those that continue to pass the torch onward in the elevation of its mission.

To Elevate: digital exhibition

Huston-Tillotson University

"What does HT mean to me?" survey

The outreach focus of the project is a social media challenge: “What does HT mean to me?” Austinites, HT alumni and all who care about African American legacies are invited to answer that question and share online using the hashtags #HT2me  #BlackandEducated  #HBCU and tagging @hustontillotsonuniversity @htiaa_austin and @austincityparks 

See some #HT2me videos on Instagram or Facebook to get inspired to share your own story.

 To Remember

To Remember considers the various types of grief, loss, and love across cultures. This exhibit shows many different forms of remembrance including burial and funeral practices, memorial anniversaries, cemetery maps, and genealogy research. “To Remember” features photo, video, oral history, and digital map content to describe how cultural traditions help us hold the space for grief and loss.

To Remember: digital exhibition

Virtual Reality Tour of "Historic Old Grounds" and Oakwood Cemetery Chapel

YouTube video of Alan Garcia presenting "The Presence of our Ancestors"

"Remembrance for Those We've Lost," public online event to grieve those lost to COVID-19 recording

"To Remember: Interview with Robert Tieman & Kay Boyd" on their project documenting monuments at Oakwood Cemetery

 All Together Here

All Together Here interprets the archaeology project at the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel. During the rehabilitation of the Chapel in 2016, there was a painful discovery: the Chapel had been constructed over preexisting burials.

All Together Here: digital exhibition

All Together Here: symposium website

All Together Here: symposium session videos published on the Parks and Recreation Department YouTube Channel

 

 

 To Vote 

To Vote recognizes Austin's suffragists in 2020 during the 100th Anniversary, the 55th, and 45th Anniversary of all women gaining the right to vote in America. Many people who worked hard for that right are buried in Austin’s municipal cemeteries.

To Vote: digital exhibition

 

 Texas Independence Tour

Save Austin's Cemeteries gravesite tour of people who contributed to the fight for the independence for Texas from Mexico in 1835-1836. The Republic of Texas was an independent country from 1836 - 1845, before it became part of the United States.

Texas Independence, digital tour

Save Austin's Cemeteries

 To Hear

To Hear appreciates Austin’s musicians, including the Besserer Orchestra, the Gant Family, Ernest "Ernie" Mae Crafton Miller and Gene Ramey. They played in music halls such as Scholz Garten, Pressler Beer Garden, and the New Orleans Club. John and Alan Lomax were known for traveling the world to record folk music as musicologists.

To Hear: digital exhibit 

Additional To Hear links:

Gant Family Songs from the Library of Congress (Box link to files)

Ghost Notes: Michael Corcoran's new book, signed by the author and the illustrator Tim Kerr, is now available to order for direct shipping.

Ghost Notes: Michael Corcoran Spotify Playlist (a few songs have explicit content, so if you don't want to hear those songs on the playlist, change your settings in Spotify

YouTube video of author and artist talk: Ghost Notes by Michael Corcoran and Tim Kerr

 Caminar

This exhibition remembers Tejanos and Mexican Americans buried in Oakwood Cemetery, and honors their legacy in Austin, inspired by Danny Camacho's research.

Caminar, digital exhibit

Spectrum News article on Caminar

YouTube video of Caminar event: El Sacrificio

YouTube video of Caminar event: La Tamalada

YouTube video of Robert Ojeda and the Bronze Band on a history of Mexican American music program

 To Believe

Featuring video, photography, digital maps and performances, we explore Black East Austin's historic and contemporary practices of faith and belief, as inspired by Reverend Jacob Fontaine.

To Believe, digital exhibit

To Believe, video exploring faith in East Austin churches by Amaz1n Entertainment, supported by iACT, Heimsath Architecture, Preservation Austin, the Austin Foundation for Architecture, Big Medium and Sightlines Magazine

 Murder, Mayhem, Misadventure

Save Austin's Cemeteries annual graveside tours cover the chilling, untimely deaths of “residents” of Oakwood Cemetery portrayed by graveside actors. Tour route and stories vary each year.

Murder, Mayhem and Misadventure, digital tour - 2020

Murder, Mayhem and Misadventure, digital tour - 2019

Save Austin's Cemeteries

 To Write

To Write is an ongoing series of online and in-person author talks on books related to the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel and its mission. If the book references people buried at Oakwood Cemetery, we often make a StoryMap to help visitors find the gravesites and learn about the lives that made Austin. This series is a collaboration with Save Austin's Cemeteries.

Barton Creek by Ed Crowell

For an author talk at the Chapel by Ed Crowell on the book Barton Creek, this digital story map shows burials in Oakwood of individuals mentioned in the book whose lives affected Barton Creek.

To Write: Barton Creek, digital exhibit

Austin American-Statesman article about the book


Cedar Choppers by Ken Roberts

For an author talk at the Chapel by Ken Roberts on the book The Cedar Choppers, this story shows burials in Oakwood of a community whose culture depended on chopping cedar along creeks in West Austin.

To Write: The Cedar Choppers, digital exhibit

The Cedar Choppers website: photos, interviews and songs


The Big Book of the Dead by Marion Winik

For an online author talk by Marion Winik on the book The Big Book of the Dead, this book is filled with remembrances of people, showing how we love, grieve, and grow. 

YouTube video of the online talk

 

 To Read

To Read is an ongoing series of online and in-person discussions on books related to the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel and its mission. Facilitators include volunteers who may be researchers, philosophers, and historians.

Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

An online book discussion on the psychological foundations about death and dying in Summer 2020.

YouTube video of the online discussion


At the Chapel, Dr. Fatemah Keshavarz led a discussion on death, dying and transitions in Rumi's poetry in Fall 2019.

 

Educational Programs

Oakwood stories create engaging past, present and future learning tools for students of all ages. We work with educators to create learning programs that expand on human knowledge and the possibilities of imagination.

We host group tours for classes and camps, collaborate on content and resources, and help students and Eagle Scouts complete projects. Contact us to reserve a time that works for your group.