Week One: Fairsted and Boston Harbor Islands!

Hello everyone! I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the Olmsted Center as a Designing the Parks Intern this summer, and look forward to working with ongoing projects at the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area.

This week has been a great introduction to the mission of the National Park Service, and specifically the goals of cultural landscape preservation that the Olmsted Center aims to achieve. And what better way to start, than to visit the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and gain a first-hand glimpse at landscape preservation, historic design, and visitor interpretation all at once. I was able to get out on Thursday and aid Chris, Sasha and Shanasia on updating the vegetation maps for the site, as well as tour the inside of the Fairsted home and historic offices of the Olmsted Brothers firm. I have also been preparing for my first site visit to the Boston Harbor Island, by reviewing previous Cultural Landscape Reports on the areas, as well gathering information to see how the landscape has evolved over time.

So, as I write this blog, I am trying to think of a unique way to capture what I learn each week, or document a key activity, idea or project that deepens my understanding of cultural landscapes, historic design and resource conservation among many. I’ve decided I’m going to try to come up with a weekly “Ah-ha moment”. This week, the moment, was definitely learning a bit about Olmsted’s approach to designing the front entry of his home in Brookline, MA. A visitor may not realize that the entry does not line up with the home, but rather pulls one into the view of the landscape first! Really interesting to see how this may have looked over time, and to think of how to continue to manage this concept over 100 years later!

Stay tuned for more “ah-ha” moments from the 34 Boston Harbor Islands as I begin my work on updating their Cultural Landscape Report, and vegetation management plan for Peddocks Island!

Thanks!

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