My name is Clare Flynn. I’m thrilled to be writing to you for the first time as part of the new crop of Designing the Parks interns at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. Pinch me! Is this really happening?
You’ll be hearing from me a lot over the next few months, so I’ll start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I was born and raised in Sacramento, California and just graduated with a Master’s degree in Architectural Conservation from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland at the end of last year. My path to cultural landscape preservation has been a rather unusual and indirect one, taking me from work in the media and entertainment world and cities around the world to this amazing opportunity with the Olmsted Center and the NPS’ Northeast Region.
How did that happen, you ask? Bear with me while I attempt to connect the dots.
After graduating with a BA in History from UCLA in 2011, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my degree, so I started by pursuing a few of my other passions: music, the arts, and public media. This led me to an internship with NPR’s music program All Songs Considered in Washington, D.C. From there, I was able to combine many of my interests by working as a historian and location scout for Live from the Artists Den, a PBS television series that presents concerts in historic buildings. The experience of helping to celebrate and share the stories of the amazing, often under-recognized places in which we filmed sparked my interest in historic preservation and inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in the subject.
So off to Scotland I went! While completing my graduate studies in Edinburgh, I had the incredible opportunity to work as an architectural assistant on the restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art, after it was severely damaged by a fire in 2014 (Pinch me again!), while simultaneously completing my dissertation on the protection and care of historic places when they are used as filming locations.
Now that I’m back on US soil, I’m honored and excited to be a part of the team at the Olmsted Center for the next several months. During my time in Boston, I’ll be working on a few projects. Initially, my focus will be on completing a Cultural Landscape Inventory (CLI) for the Pamet Cranberry Bog at Cape Cod National Seashore. As a West Coaster, I had never been to Cape Cod and knew next to nothing about cranberry cultivation when I arrived at the Olmsted Center two weeks ago (aside from what I’d seen in a few Ocean Spray commercials on TV).
I’m happy to report that that has changed very quickly. In my first few weeks as an intern, I have been busily reading everything I can get my hands on about the Pamet River area of Cape Cod and the local cranberry industry, and we just returned from five magical days on the Cape, during which I had the chance to experience the Pamet Cranberry Bog first hand and begin the process of documenting it for the CLI. Stay tuned for our posts about that!
The rest of my internship with be primarily dedicated to assisting with the Cultural Resources Stewardship Assessment, an agency-wide initiative that aims to measure status and trends in park cultural resource management. As part of that, I’ll work on assessments for four to five parks in the Northeast Region. I can’t wait to get started and find out which parks we’ll be working on.
Looking forward to the adventure ahead!