RIP Guardian Program

The letters “RIP” are commonly found carved on gravemarkers, bidding the deceased to “rest in peace.” For the Texas Historical Commission’s RIP Guardian Program, “RIP” stands for “record, investigate, and protect.” The mission of the RIP Guardian Program is to provide technical assistance and education to a statewide network of cemetery preservation volunteers.

Only sites designated as a Historic Texas Cemetery or determined by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) as eligible for such designation can be adopted by local RIP Guardian volunteers. In many cases, the RIP Guardian groups are the sole caretakers for these historic sites. Volunteers work to preserve the cemeteries through site maintenance and cleanups, basic conservation, conducting photographic surveys, engaging in fundraisers, and recruiting additional volunteers.

Volunteers represent a broad spectrum of interested parties, from historians to 4-H Club members. Religious groups, descendants of the interred, county historical commissions, and local school groups are among the variety of participants.

Local RIP Guardian groups host workshops led by the THC Cemetery Preservation Program staff on topics such as cemetery master planning, sensitive maintenance, gravemarker cleaning, and photographic survey techniques. In addition, the THC provides each RIP Guardian group with the RIP Guardian Kit and a 300-page RIP Guardian Guidebook.

Designated a Preserve America Steward in January 2009.