This tour takes visitors back to the formation of early York, exploring the customs and symbolic rituals that accompanied burial in colonial America. What do the gravestones tell us about the deceased, be they rich or poor? Loyalist or Revolutionary? Ravaged by old age or taken as a child by illness? Visitors will learn about York’s earliest colonial citizens. Who were these people who ventured from their homes across the ocean to settle in this sparsely-populated land?
With more than 100 gravestones still standing in York’s Old Burying Ground, the tour reveals much more than the location and names on the stones. In the absence of words, decorative symbols like the winged death’s head, a cherub, or an urn and a willow, reveal something about ideas regarding religion and death in the 17th and 18th centuries. These symbols, which generally mean little to the modern visitor, held deep significance to our ancestors.
The tour lasts approximately an hour, and takes place in the Old Burying Ground. The terrain is uneven, and comfortable shoes are recommended.
Tours begin promptly at the Lindsay Road entrance to the Museum Center, so please arrive no later than 5 minutes prior to check in. Because tour sizes are limited, if you do not check in by the start time of the tour, your ticket may be released to someone on the waiting list. No refunds can be issued within 24 hours of the event.
In case of inclement weather, the tour is cancelled and tickets will be refunded, or credited towards another scheduled tour.
This tour is limited to ten people, and you must pre-register online (this includes members). No tickets will be sold at the door
Old York is committed to the safety of our visitors and staff. In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, we have implemented the following safety measures:
Social Distancing: When possible we will maintain 6-feet of social distancing. We are limiting the number of people per tour in order to help comply with this measure.
Face Coverings: Guests and staff will be required to wear face coverings for the duration of the tour. If you do not have a face covering, Old York will provide one.
Restricted Access: The Old York Museum Center is closed to visitors. This includes the restrooms. Please be sure to use a restroom before coming to Old York for your tour.
Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer stations will be available to promote proper hygiene.
Thank you to Wiggly Bridge Distillery for providing hand sanitizer.