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This is my second time saying good bye to the National Park Service. The last eleven weeks have moved so quickly, a mad dash to learn how to build a map and get some writing done. As someone with limited mapping skills, learning to use a handful of new software programs was an uphill battle (one that Illustrator often won). As I leave, I’m lucky enough to come out with a whole new skill set. The Park Service is incredible in that it’s not just a working experience but it’s a learning and exploring experience. Over the summer I got to map, do field work, write, research, take architectural pictures, learn geology, engage with communities and so much more. I always acquire waaaayyy more skills than I had anticipated when working for the Park Service. The thing about working here is that everyone is so excited to share what they know. Whether that’s revolutionary war facts or how to use a chainsaw. Everything I do at the Park Service is done to the backdrop of enthusiasm.

I didn’t become a “go-getter” until I was in college. I was an athlete on the crew team and I had this (now very obvious) realization that I would never be able to go home after practice until all of the equipment was put away. From then on, I’ve dedicated myself to being the first person to get down to business and it’s been the most rewarding change in my life. The place I truly see this is in the Park Service, my delight in learning new skills is instantly rewarded as other equally eager individuals are ready to impart their wisdom upon me.

Over the last few months, I’ve learned to map, as promised. But I’ve also measured, photographed and explored modern and historic houses. I’ve taken pictures of so many different things and learned the names of so many different kinds of plants and trees, it makes my head spin. I’ve removed invasive species, helped build a trail, put together a goat shelter, taken down that same goat shelter, herded aforementioned goats and I have learned so much. I’ve learned history and politics and all about the internal workings of the Park Service. I’ve learned about laws and preservation and stewardship. I’m leaving this internship with so much more knowledge than when I began and I’m ready to apply that knowledge anywhere I can.

I’ve had an amazing summer and I’m so grateful for everything the Park Service has done for me. The people at the Olmsted Center were wonderful mentors and delightfully knowledgeable about so many things. My fellow interns were spectacular and Boston was a nice, breezy alternative to the muggy Florida heat.

As for me, I’m headed back to the Swamp to finish up my graduate degree and continue my adventures.

Goodbye for now NPS.



On Monday, the Saugus Iron Works planting design came full circle. I met the Branching Out Field Team at the site for their week-long ‘Resource Protection and Pest Management’ task – as known as, the goose-deterrent garden. Adrienne, the Field Team Coordinator; and Innocent and Ashley, Field Team Leaders; structured the day so that the Branching Out team would learn about the site’s history and contribute to its stewardship.

Branching Out approaches each of their projects fully prepared and provides time for reflection. I enjoyed joining them for their Safety and Stretch Circle in the morning before heading down to the site. We also took time in the afternoon to practice mindfulness and reflection. (We sat in the shade, exercised our minds with some writing, and took a few minutes to consider how we were feeling in that very moment.)

I helped to introduce the project and our goals for the week. This was the final week for the Branching Out Team, so by now they have already worked with a planting plan and schedule. We tested them to read the plan and come up with a plan of approach. They chose to start with installing the wire fence and spacing flags. Without much prompting, the team divided tasks and tools and began to make the design a reality.

After joining them on a tour of the Iron Works where we learned about the process of iron production and the industry, we returned to the site and I gave them a quick lesson on the plants that they will be planting. I had a lot of fun introducing each plant and seeing if they could, as detectives, determine the species from the clues I offered.

When I left Saugus that afternoon with excited anticipation to see the final product by the end of the week, I began to reflect the entirety of the project. Only weeks earlier, I had exchanged emails, drafted a design, determined a plant schedule, and navigated through some issues; and now, it is real. I also left confident in the team to make independent choices about the site and the design. That is the beauty of landscape architecture: there is design intention and design execution, and they do not have to be identical. The Saugus River buffer planting was designed in an office in the middle of downtown Boston; therefore, even with all the research in the world, the real experience of the site remains a mystery. (For example, only the person installing the fence knows where rocks are underground, and they must adapt the installation to the constraints of the site.) I trust the team to recognize the design’s intent and, when faced with issues, adapt.


On Thursdays I saw Marc, and he updated me on the progress at Saugus. He told me that the Branching Out team decided to move the fencing into the middle of the planting beds in order to mask it from view. I was glad to hear that they came up with that solution and that re-installation went smoothly. I cannot wait to visit Saugus in a few years to see how the buffer garden matures and evolves.



First off, apologies for the gap since my last post. I’ve been busily trying to finish my CLI site plans of the Pamet Cranberry Bog before moving on to the project that really brought me to the Olmsted Center and which will be the primary focus of the rest of my internship: the Cultural Resource Stewardship Assessment (CRSA). I’ll dedicate many blog posts to it in the future, so stay tuned for those!

That said, I’m happy to report that my maps of the Pamet Cranberry Bog are now complete (although, I’m sure there will be some tweaking down the road). Given my lack of experience with AutoCAD, Illustrator, and cultural landscapes in general at the start of my internship, I’m incredibly proud of how they’ve turned out.

pamet 30

Detail site plan of the Boghouse and its immediate surroundings


Full site plan

I’m a particularly big fan of the full site plan, which shows the extent of the irrigation system that essentially enabled this fascinating natural landscape of peat bogs, kettlehole ponds, and sandy knolls formed by prehistoric glacial activity to be converted for use in the commercial cultivation of cranberries. Water was pumped from the nearby Pamet River through a long irrigation ditch to a small kettlehole pond, which overflowed through a system of irrigation ditches, culverts, and canals into the bogs to the east, west, and south of the Boghouse. Equipment and harvested cranberries were stored on the Boghouse’s ground floor, while the bog’s caretaker lived on the second floor. The water was then pumped from the West Bog back to the Pamet River through another long irrigation ditch, creating a closed loop that not only irrigated the Pamet Cranberry Bogs, but also allowed them to be flooded during the wintertime.

Fun fact about the Boghouse: it started out as a typical one-story “full Cape Cod” house, probably built in the early 1800s, but it was moved to its present location and raised to two stories at some point in order to accommodate its use in the cranberry growing industry. Examining the floor plan of the Boghouse from a 1963 appraisal of the property at the time of its transfer to the NPS, one can clearly see the ghostly outline of its original early 19th century layout as a typical full Cape Cod cottage. Knowing its history also explains oddities like the floating doors on the second floor. Trying to piece its development back together by examining its existing fabric (albeit only casually and from the outside) allowed me to scratch my historic-buildings-preservation itch for a bit.


The Boghouse today with floating second story doors!

As someone who studied architectural conservation in grad school, I hadn’t had much exposure to cultural landscapes prior to starting this internship, but one of the major takeaways I’ve had through working on this project and getting to know the rest of the work going on at the Olmsted Center, is learning the importance of looking at buildings and structures within the larger context of their surrounding landscapes, be they natural, designed, or, more often, a mix of both.

In Edinburgh, where I studied for my degree, we were taught about the importance of studying the history and development of the city and surrounding neighborhood in which an individual building was located in order to really understand how that building may have changed over time; however, the settings we worked on were largely urban, by dint of the fact that the “laboratory” for our studies was a densely packed World Heritage city. Working with a landscape as rural and overgrown as that at the Pamet Cranberry Bogs, someone with my background might be tempted to focus just on the Boghouse without realizing that the building’s significance comes from understanding that it was just a small piece (Literally, it’s just a speck in the full site plan) within a much larger, complex agricultural system in which the surrounding landscape was absolutely essential. Indeed, this kind of thinking is evident in the fact that the Boghouse was the primary focus of National Register draft nominations that were prepared in the past as well as maintenance efforts up to this point.

I’m very thankful to the Olmsted Center and this internship for helping to expand my way of thinking about historic buildings and landscapes. It’s a real example of the importance of, to use a particularly appropriate idiom, “seeing the forest for the trees” that I’ve greatly appreciated.

From here, I’ll be dipping into the written portion of the CLI for the Pamet Cranberry Bog from time to time, but the majority of my attention will be spent on the CRSA. Onward to more adventures and opportunities to learn new things!

Until next time,


Madeline Le Blog 3

Week 5 was rather short because of the holiday, but we officially kicked off the CHSNE collaboration with the teen program. On the 7th, we hosted the teens for a walking tour of Chinatown.

Though it was rainy, we managed to see a couple of sites that are related to the topics of the videos they will be creating soon, such as the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center (pictured right) and the Chinatown Heritage Mural (pictured below).


Chinatown Heritage Mural

Chinatown Heritage Mural

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center

I began week 6 by continuing my adventures through the CHSNE archives to see if there was anything we could copy for the teens when they began their research later in the week.



On the 13th, we introduced the teens to the project and split them up into groups based on their interest in each topic. The teens then got to meet with some of the people most knowledgeable about their topics, some of whom will also be the people they interview on camera for their short films.

We finished off the week with some work on the community resource kit for The Chinese Exclusion Act documentary.

Madeline Le Blog 5

Week 9 began with more filming. I supervised a couple of different groups, and it’s really interesting to see the similarities and differences in what shots each group wants to get. Some groups were more focused on staging scenes and getting action shots, while other groups were getting more building and interior shots.

On the 3rd, I actually got a visit from the family that had inquired about the grave at Mount Hope. They had been able to find the grave earlier that day and came by to express their thanks again in person. It turns out that they had been looking for their father for over 50 years! The son lives in China and had come for a visit and was to leave in a few days. Had the directory not been in existence, the likelihood that they would have found the grave was very low.  The Chinese Burial grounds are in an isolated part of the cemetery, and the families of those buried there often never knew what happened to them. A fair number of the headstones are faded and broken, but luckily this headstone was still in quite a good condition. Finally after decades, the son was able to pay respects to his father. They were also able to locate the location of the laundromat the his father had worked at in one of the old directories we have in our archive.

On the 4th, I accompanied the teen program on a field trip to the African Meeting House and Black Heritage Trail. They started in the basement of the Meeting House with an icebreaker and then got to learn more about NPS, this time from the interpretation side.


After the presentation, they played some team-building games. After a month together, they were pretty good at them. They also got to see a talk in the main part of the building.



After a break for lunch, we went on a tour of the Black Heritage Trail.

Despite coming from the area, this was actually my first time on the Black Heritage Trail as well. In school, if we went on field trips out to Boston, it was always the Freedom Trail or the Museum of Science.


Here’s a picture of the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial.

Here’s a picture of the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial.

And here’s a picture of the State House across the street.

And here’s a picture of the State House across the street.

The teens’ favorite stop was probably the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House because of the stories that came with the site. It was one of the safest stops on the Underground Railroad. Lewis Hayden was known to answer the door with a loaded shotgun and a lit candle. If the slave catchers weren’t disturbed by the shotgun, it was revealed that there were two barrels of gunpowder by the door, hence the lit candle.


We then returned to the basement of the African Meeting House, where the teens got to think up sites for their own heritage trails. A lot of the groups chose the Chinatown Gate as their site because of how iconic it is. For visitors especially, this is what Chinatown is. Through their video project, however, they will be complicating this image of Chinatown. They will be showing that Chinatown is a living community

Abigail Wing Blog Post

During the weeks at my internship at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, I have learned more about artifact care and preservation. Below is a picture of me putting a protective coating of wax onto a bronze relief. This process we do annually while weekly we dust reliefs to remove pollen and dust particles


In the recent weeks I have also learned how to create a museum exhibit. The process for creating labels and finding appropriate artifacts is a long one, but well worth the effort! My exhibit was about James Earle Fraser, a friend and student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The focus of my exhibit was the Special Commemorative Medal of Honor that he presented to Augustus in 1901 at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. Below is an image of my final display case.

The case was made up of multiple different objects. In the top shelf is a bust of Augustus that was made out of plaster and has pencil marks for which a measuring instrument called a pantograph machine was used to scale the piece. The pantograph would trace the bust and cut a larger or smaller identical image with a cutting tool. The bust was used to make the profile image of Augustus that can be found on the bottom shelf. The middle shelf displays the reverse of the medal in which there is Greek imagery of Pegasus, the winged horse, and a nude man holding a hammer and chisel.


We also made presentations to go along with our exhibit. Below I am giving a presentation to a group of visitors that explains what is in the case and a brief history of who James Earle Fraser was and his connections to Saint-Gaudens.


Madeline Le Blog 1

Madeline Le Blog 1

by: Madeline Le

Hi all! My name is Madeline Le and I am interning with the Northeast Regional Office at the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) this summer. As part of this internship I will be partnering with a local community organization’s teen program to help them develop short films that document Chinatown’s history as part of the plans for a Chinese Heritage Trail. I am also working on the development of community resource material for THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT PBS documentary.

The first week of my internship was spent on mostly familiarizing myself with CHSNE’s materials, though this is an ongoing process. I also met with the teen program’s coordinator to begin familiarizing myself with the program and curriculum that we will be going over with the teens starting in July. For both of my projects, there is a fair amount of video footage to go through. I’ll probably have watched everything related to the Chinese Exclusion Act soon!

The second week was much of the same, though I’ve begun to meet some of CHSNE’s board members. On June 14th, we went to the Mass Archives. Though I went to school right around the corner from the Archives and passed it everyday, I had never actually visited before.


We attended the meeting of the State Review Board of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, since two of the items on the agenda to add to the National Register of Historic Places were related to CHSNE.


The Historic Resources Associated with Chinese Immigrants and Chinese Americans in the City of Boston is over 100 pages of information on the start of Chinese in Boston. This context study shows the important history of Chinese in Boston. Though Chinatown and its residents know its worth, the listing of the context study means that the importance would be federally recognized. It would also be a basis for other applicants seeking to add Chinese-American related sites to the National Register to work off of.

The Quincy Grammar School is a historic building on its own, being the first school in the state to separate classes by grades, but has significance to the Chinatown community because of the organizations it houses. The building belongs to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA). The CCBA acted as Chinatown’s own governmental system in the past. Though it no longer acts as the sole voice of Chinatown, the CCBA is still important as an umbrella organization for over 30 family associations and community organizations.

Both items were approved unanimously by the State Review Board and the nominations now go to Washington, D.C!

Leah’s Blog #3

These past two weeks have been solely dedicated to interpretation and visitor services. During the weeks, our projects were to create a mini exhibit and present to park visitors. My fellow intern and I were to research content to develop two displays associated with the Process exhibit located in the Little Studio.  My supervisor Elizabeth assigned Abigail and I our topic. Both topics discussed a type of sculptural process.I was assigned to research Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ sculptural process for creating the images for both the ten and twenty dollar gold coin. Most of the information I needed was located in books down in the library within the visitor center and in the curatorial building. My research took a couple days and once I had what I needed I had to write up a label. The label explains to visitors the contents of the exhibit and the story behind the items.The editing process for the label takes time because I needed to make sure I had all the important information as well as a well written story. Once editing was complete I used publisher to work out how I wanted to information and photographs to fit on the label. It was very time consuming. Once that was complete I printed and laminated the label so it would not get ruined by environmental factors, like humidity Next, was the  collecting items for the display and the fabricating process.  I had a total of ten items for display and varying in size. The item were original plaster sketches made by Saint-Gaudens when experimenting with the image for the reverse side of the twenty dollar gold coin. Then I have both halves that are made when plaster is formed, a negative and a positive. I also have a metal proof of the coin, a modern day rubber mold, and a large maquette of the coin. Abigail and I got lucky when It was time for fabricating, We did not have to make much because we were able to use the display mantle form the previous year. All that was left to do was install out exhibits and prepare a twenty minute presentation (ten minutes each).  My title for my exhibit is, High Demand But No Relief. We have two presentation 1 presentation per week and we both share a table that has more items on display for visitors to touch and discuss with us about. Both presentations have been a great success. We both were able to show our ability to research and synthesize information while showing creativity and communicating our exhibits information accordingly.




I was able to break away from the computer last Friday for a trip back to the Baker-Biddle Homestead on Cape Cod to meet Steve Biddle and his wife, Lynn. Steve is the grandson of Francis and Katherine Biddle, who bought the home from Jack Hall in 1949. Judge Francis Biddle served as Attorney General under the Roosevelt administration from 1941-1945 and as the primary American judge at the Nuremberg war crime trials in 1946. Katherine’s accomplishments certainly compare to her husband’s; she was a highly regarded poet, lecturer, and civil rights activist. The Biddles purchased the Bound Brook Island home as a summer escape from Philadelphia, and a place to continue writing surrounded by literary notables. Their son and grandchildren spent summers on the Cape and have many stories of the property – I am so fortunate to have heard firsthand from Steve and Lynn Biddle about theirs.

Frances Biddle in the Gardens

When the Biddles first drove up the drive, I was not sure what to expect; however, as soon as we met, I could feel the energy returning to the homestead. Steve, who towered over most of us, first adjusted his sunglasses, took a quick look around the yard, and without a need for prompting, began to recall his memories of the property. Lynn, who I would succinctly describe as his name-and-date memory counterpart, also had many stories to share.

Daniel or Stephen Biddle with Daughter

The memories Steve unearthed at first reflected his experience as a child, spending long summers with his grandparents. We followed his around the property as he pursued is-it-still-here, I-remember-it-right-there, and other leads. We would take a moment and pause wherever we heard Lynn chime in: ‘Wait, Steve, don’t forget about the…’
During all of this, I took notes – unorganized, on maps and sheets, anywhere I could fit them and with feverish pace. (Once back in the office, I spent many hours working through the notes, updating my maps, revising the chronology of the site, and correcting proper lingo for site features.)

Here are a few of my favorite Biddle-family memories:

Steve’s grandparents couldn’t bear to see their grandsons succumb to the boredom of summer and waste their time, so they hired a tutor when they visited. Steve talked about having to sit inside and study Shakespeare. With a smile, indicative past adolescent angst, Steve began to recite the United States Presidents, in order, just as his tutors had required.



Once we made our way to the Memorial Garden north of the Big House, Steve started to poke around in the toolshed. Not finding what he was searching for, Steve explained that a small dog statue sat in the center of the circular garden. They called him ‘Percival.’


Frances Biddle in Deck Chair

During the first site visit, the elm tree at the southwest corner of the Big House received little attention beyond a note of its species. Lynn and Steve explained the tree’s importance to Katherine, in particular, and the cocktail parties she held on the property. I learned that during literary gatherings or parties, wooden chairs and loungers were arranged in a circle under the shade of the tree. There, guest shared selections of poetry, but never their own! Even after Katherine’s passing in the late 1970s, her children and grandchildren continued to gather under the elm for parties, photos, and to enjoy the serenity of the Cape. When Hurricane Bob struck Cape Cod in 1991, the property lost a large number of trees and devastated the elm. Frances, Steve’s mother, never gave up on the tree and to her relief saw the tree gradually improve. Only after hearing that story am I able to appreciate the elms gnarls and scars, and its cherished shade.

Steve and Lynn provided an inexhaustible list of Biddle stories on Bound Brook Island, and my attempts to retell fall short to hearing them from the source. Whether its running down to the beach and building a boardwalk, watching meteor showers at dusk, or hearing the USS Biddle dinner bell ring out from the rugged landscape – those stories make the Baker-Biddle site alive.

Haley Arteaga Blog Post 4

For the past 2 weeks I have continued to work on the annual inventory of collections with the other intern, Rebecca. We have looked at foundry patterns, ship clocks, sheet music, augers, spirals and other significant objects. We’re slowly coming to a close on the inventories. The accessions inventory is the hardest because sometimes there are no descriptions, no locations, or no other information that can help us find a particular object or archive. Although I do not have any pictures of those specific objects I do have a couple pictures of me finding objects!

I was calling out the catalog numbers for the augers or spirals on the top shelf.

I was calling out the catalog numbers for the augers or spirals on the top shelf.

This is the art rack where signs, pictures, paintings, medals, plaques, and rosters are found for the inventory.

This is the art rack where signs, pictures, paintings, medals, plaques, and rosters are found for the inventory.

In other news, I did get to visit Fort Warren on George’s Island, a prisoner of war camp and fortification, Saugus National Historic Site, the site of some of the first ironworks in the colonies, the Adams National Historical Park, where the houses of John Adams and John Quincy Adams are found, and Salem Maritime Site.

Fort Warren on George’s Island

Fort Warren on George’s Island

The water wheel at Saugus National Historic Site

The water wheel at Saugus National Historic Site

John Adams’s birthplace.

John Adams’s birthplace.

The Old House at Peacefield- owned by John and John Quincy Adams.

The Old House at Peacefield- owned by John and John Quincy Adams.

First Blog Entry

First Blog Entry

By: Tyler Ball


Hi Everyone! My name is Tyler Ball and I am interning with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management BOEM) this summer (Photo of BOEM headquarters in Virginia posted above). As the intern under the archaeology department, my responsibilities are focused on organizing nomination forms for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), specifically shipwrecks located in the Gulf of Mexico. These shipwrecks are important to me not only because they are historically significant, but because I am interested in focusing my future research on shipwrecks effected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Below is a photo of me working on analyzing shipwreck nomination data.


My first week as an intern was spent getting caught up to speed on the specifics of each nomination case, specifically understanding the status of completion each shipwreck was currently at. This included reviewing several nomination bulletins from the National Register of Historic Places.  Another part of my internship is being included to participate in staff meetings with other branches within the environmental programs department. Below is a picture I took of my office between weeks 1-2.  Week 2 of my internship was spent in compiling information, editing, and drafting nominations. Later in that week I began working on mapping the sites in ArcGIS.


Madeline Le Blog 4

In week 7, my projects managed to meet. The teen program we’re working with watched a 35 minute excerpt of THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT documentary I’m working on the community resource kit for. They got to meet April and Sara from the NPS and did some discussion activities concerning what it means to be American. They also got to talk to April and Sara about their jobs in NPS, so there’s a future career path that many had never thought about there.

Week 8 meant the start of filming for the teens. We went out to meet with interviewees and got B-roll footage.

 Here we have the teens’ outlines and interview questions! And a peek at the interview schedule in the back.

Here we have the teens’ outlines and interview questions! And a peek at the interview schedule in the back.

This is one group’s meeting with their interviewee

This is one group’s meeting with their interviewee

And to the right is one group in the process of interviewing!

And to the right is one group in the
process of interviewing!

Here’s that first group again, setting up for their interview.

Here’s that first group again, setting up for their interview.

The lighting in the room proved to be a bit of a problem, so good thing we had a lighting kit! The teens set it all up with no problems.

The lighting in the room proved to be a bit of a problem, so good thing we had a lighting kit! The teens set it all up with no problems.

One other thing that I got to do was go through the Mount Hope directory. CHSNE actually started because of a project to beautify the Chinese Burial Grounds at Mount Hope cemetery. The group that went to clean up the area realized that something needed to be done. So with the help of students affiliated with Asian American Studies (specifically the CAPAY program), they documented each grave and scoured government records to create a directory.


I got a call about finding a grave, so I went into the files and managed to find it easily thanks to the nicely organized directory.




On a very rainy day earlier this week (The Scottish might have called it “dreich.” Look it up!), the Designing the Parks team drove out to Lowell, just outside of Boston, for a visit to the regional headquarters of the Archeology Program and Historic Architecture, Conservation and Engineering Center. Before ultimately deciding to pursue a master’s degree in architectural conservation, I had considered both archeology and objects conservation as alternate career paths, so needless to say, I was very excited about this visit as it seemed to combine all of my interests in one place!

Our morning began with a series of presentations by archeologists Bill Griswold and Meg Waters, historic structures conservator Rebekah Krieger, and objects conservator Joannie Bottkol. After breaking for lunch, we were given an in-depth tour of the conservation labs. The highlight was getting to hear the interns describe some of the objects they were individually working to preserve and restore and how they planned to treat them. I was in awe of their knowledge, skill, and patience to do such fine, detailed, and very scientific work!

One of the things I love most about working with cultural resources is that it is such an interdisciplinary field. You get to regularly work and collaborate with professionals from a variety of academic backgrounds and learn from their deep knowledge of highly specialized subjects. Although the Archeology Program and Historic Architecture, Conservation and Engineering Center at Lowell and the Olmsted Center in Boston each have different specialties, they all use in-depth examinations of the physical remains of the past to gain a better understanding of history. These examinations may, in turn, be used to inform how a park is managed, preserved, and interpreted for the public.

Research on newly acquired cultural resources or a follow-up investigation from a reframed point of view can sometimes recast well-known historic events, people, or places in a new light. During her presentation, Meg Watters explained how recent archeological investigations at Minute Man National Historical Park were able to locate the site of the Revolutionary War skirmish known as Parker’s Revenge that occurred just after the battles of Lexington and Concord. The discovery will help the park rework how it interprets the battle and bring greater focus to a previously overlooked event in the war’s history.

Rebekah Krieger had revelations of her own while working on a Historic Structures Report for the Thompson A.M.E. Zion Church at the Harriett Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, NY. Through a close inspection of the church’s surviving historic fabric (including paint analysis) she discovered that the building – which some of her peers had considered a fairly plain, vernacular building – was actually designed by a noted local architect and still possessed elaborate painted details hidden underneath more recent coats of paint. These discoveries underscored the fact that the now shabby and deteriorated church had been an important community center in the 19th and 20th centuries, a place where every kind of social event occurred – from baptisms and speeches to clam bakes and the funeral of Harriet Tubman.


Rebekah Krieger presents her research on the A.M.E. Zion Church at Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

Meanwhile, a few doors away in the conservation lab, interns working to preserve the personal possessions of Mamie Eisenhower discovered pills in an old silver case that shed light on the former First Lady’s health. Her Pepto Bismol pink plastic telephone with its bespoke silver cover was another highlight of the tour which revealed more to me about Mrs. Eisenhower’s personal taste and sense of style than almost any biography ever could. Apparently, there is some speculation that it was her love for the color pink that may have led to its association with the female sex!

All told, our tour of the NPS facilities at Lowell revealed the vast range of methods and approaches that can be used to investigate the physical remains of the past in order to enhance our understanding of history as we seek to bring it into the present. An enlightening and inspiring, indeed!

Until next time,




The National Park Service is not just about preserving wilderness, hiking rural trails, or providing the quintessential American road trip. The Service – through preservation, interpretation, and collaboration – provides visitors a space to compose their own journey, from the past into the future. It is by far impossible to fully comprehend another person’s perspective or life story; however, public spaces allow people to share experiences and build an understanding together. The integrative qualities of the landscape may be subtle or awesome, but nevertheless make profound impacts on our lives.

I was reminded this week of the five tenets that guide the Designing the Parks experience: respect place, engage all, model sustainability, design beyond boundaries, and communicate clearly. I thought deeply on these principles; both, their application during my internship, and their application in my career.


Respect Place

Respect, like preserve, is both descriptive and prescriptive. Initially the word might elicit a flashback to your childhood and the morals you learned then. (Make sure to give up your seat to your elder!) I like to think that ‘respect’ encompasses not just what you should do, but what you can do. You have the ability to express your gratitude and pay it forward.

Looking ahead beyond this summer, I acknowledge the fact that I feel subjectively connected the land and inherently separate simultaneously. (Now, how does that work?) I feel that my impacts – both good and bad – extend beyond my own experience; and therefore, my actions respect each conceivable impact.


Engage All

This is one of my favorite principles because it is both a virtue and an ultimatum when working collaboratively. I quickly learned during my undergraduate career that group work was essentially ‘real-life’ training. No single person is able to know every fact, understand every perspective, or excel at every skill – that is completely ludicrous. But when you include every voice, you (collectively) imagine what you are capable of!

Collaboration is why I have chosen to remain in school and pursue studies in historic preservation. (Landscape architecture is often considered to be interdisciplinary field that incorporates plant science, earth science, design, psychology/sociology, architecture, and history. But after graduation, I felt that there were more leads to follow and connections to be made.) A landscape architect or preservationist has a voice to contribute to every conversation. I often feel that it would do the country wonders to have more preservationists in politics. Imagine that!


Model Sustainability

Sustainability; now that is a buzz-word that I have heard thousands of times. But all in all, it boils down to a really important message: take only what you can give in return. Just because you can does not mean you should.

Right now, our world faces a lot of concerns, especially climate change/uncertainty/resilience. With ever-advancing technology, we have the tendency to look back and shame our past actions and choices. And while we might feel that acknowledging our past mistakes make their future impact less harmful, progress lies in the actions we take moving forward. As an intern, I feel it is especially important to hold myself to high standards and keep aware of my impacts.


Design beyond Boundaries

Rules and regulations can be irksome, but are necessary to organize, unite, and guide our diverse community. When it comes to design, I like to think of myself as innovative; however, I know that unconsciously I follow invisible limits. (It is not an easy task to imagine what you cannot imagine could be imagined!) So, at the Olmsted Center where we use templates, office-wide systems, and follow a work flow, you would initially think that we stay happily confined. Wrong! We challenge ourselves not to dismiss a single question and to discuss every crazy idea. (If you join us for lunch, you would understand what I mean.)

At the same time, ‘design beyond boundaries’ speaks to the nature of our work and how its effects reach far beyond a site’s margin. This is a tremendous opportunity, often, to expand our scope of impact and collaborate with even more people.


Communicate Clearly

Communication is the key! The success of your works relies on your ability to apply it, share it, and use it; therefore, it is half of what we do. (For instance, I am writing a blog right now so that I can begin a conversation with about why landscape preservation is important.) Preparing documents can be a tedious task, but they provide the initiative for future action.

“Serve our land and seek its legacy”


It is a service; a calling to put forth your contribution greater than yourself. It is ours; to share, squander, memorialize, forget, construct, destruct, discover, retell, imagine, preserve, marvel, and cherish, together – so always respect. Land; not a parcel, property, or site, although legally understood; instead an ever-expanding network, blended borders, and intrinsically whole. Do not just seek answers; pursue selflessly those unquenchable questions, open yourself to frequent discovery and introspection, and connect with those who you encounter on this adventure. Reconsider how legacies carry forth our past into our future, and the irreplaceable lessons to be found within the world that surrounds you.

Aleck Tan – Blog 4


For the past 4 years that I’ve been living in Humboldt, I’ve always wanted to go to Fern Canyon, which is located in Prairie Creek State Park. It was only today that I finally did it.

I’ve always imagined that it would be magical, sort of mystical, to have ferns just growing on the sides of a canyon and to walk through creek flowing through it. And it was. It was magical and mystical, and more. Being there felt different than being surrounded by redwoods. It felt primitive, like you were in a different land.

At the beginning our hike, there were a ton of tourists. By the end of the day, the crowd just about cleared out of Fern Canyon.

At the beginning our hike, there were a ton of tourists. By the end of the day, the crowd just about cleared out of Fern Canyon.

The five finger ferns and sword ferns covered the walls, and small moss-covered waterfalls flowed into the stream. Plank bridges and logs allowed easier stream crossings, but it’s a lot more adventurous crossing the stream itself.

Tall fern-covered canyon walls

Tall fern-covered canyon walls

Stream crossings

Stream crossings

Close up of five finger fern.

Close up of five finger fern.

At one point, there was a large log jam, so you have to weave in and out of the logs to get through. This was where I fell from a log, feet first into the water. While my shoes are waterproof in the outside, they are not waterproof in the inside, nor do they prevent water from going in. My right foot and socks were wet and from then on out, I stopped caring if my right foot was in deep stream water. That made it easier to walk across the stream.

After walking for a little bit longer, we decided to turn around. We walked back to our car, where my sandals were waiting for me in the trunk. I am beyond thrilled to have experienced Fern Canyon, but next time, I will definitely just wear my sandals.

Fern Canyon and stream crossings.

Fern Canyon and stream crossings.

7/16/17 Update


I went back to Fern Canyon to show my family around and wore sandals, which was the best decision in the world.

Aleck Tan – Blog 3


This summer, I made it a goal to go on a hike every weekend. I thought to myself, this is one of the greatest wonders in the world, and this might be the only chance I get to explore this national park for two whole months. So far, I have accomplished that goal, but I’ve mostly gone on short, easy hikes with my neighbors in park housing. However, my neighbor and colleague Joni has wanted to do a long hike in Redwood National Park for a while now. My fiancé was also visiting for the Fourth of July weekend, so I wanted him to go on a hike with us and also experience Redwood National Park. We decided that today was the perfect day for a long hike.

After getting recommendations and guidance from our cultural resource manager here at Redwood National Park, we decided to do the Tall Trees Trail which then leads to Redwood Creek Trail for a total of 9.7 miles. We parked one car at the Tall Trees trailhead, and one car at the Redwood Creek trailhead so we were only going one way (thankfully the downhill way), and could shuttle ourselves back to the start rather than going back around and hiking uphill for miles on end.

We started our hike at the Tall Trees trailhead with mosquitoes in the air and a nice cold breeze. The Tall Trees trail is a 1.5 mile hike that leads you to the Tall Trees Grove, where in a 1-mile loop, the redwoods tower at least 320 feet over you. We decided to hike to the Tall Trees Grove, which was an easy feat from the trailhead because it was all downhill, but it was an 800 feet elevation difference in 1.5 miles. We met some people climbing back up to the trailhead who did not seem to be enjoying that uphill climb, and we met some people who had great big smiles across their faces. Joni and I were grateful that we wouldn’t have to do the same exhausting climb and were smiling all the way downhill.

Hike to Tall Trees Grove consisted of many different types of trees.

Hike to Tall Trees Grove consisted of many different types of trees.

When we arrived at the Tall Trees Grove, it was overwhelming how beautiful the redwoods are. Their bark shines a magnificent deep red color, especially when it is illuminated by the sun. There are cobwebs that live between the bark, and seem to sparkle in sunlight: this is Joni’s favorite part about the trees. There is much to marvel at with redwood trees. While most people look up to see the redwoods, I tend to look down as I hike to avoid roots and rocks, but also to see my own favorite part about the redwoods, which is the understory.



Spider webs in between the bark

Spider webs in between the bark

At the bottom of these tall redwoods, little plants cover the ground as part of the understory of the redwoods. My favorite plants are the sorrels. They look like clovers, in that they cover the ground and have 3 leaves that look like hearts. They are considered to be under the oxalis family. I describe them as fluffy, but Joni strongly disagrees and says they do not look fluffy at all. In my opinion, it’s almost as if they are so soft and almost cloud-like, and they could support your weight if you decided to roll around on them (but they most definitely cannot because they are so fragile). I just think they are the best part about these redwoods, which is surprising to some since you’d think anyone’s favorite part about the redwoods is the redwoods themselves. But the truth is, redwoods are part of a whole system that allows them to thrive, from the climate and elevation to the understory and the fires that they withstand. Each part plays an important role in helping redwoods grow.


Redwood sorrel that grows in the understory

Redwood sorrel that grows in the understory

We hiked around Tall Trees Grove for a half mile, and connected with the Redwood Creek Trail, which takes you to a summer footbridge across the creek. We decided to stop and eat lunch by the creek mainly because there were no mosquitoes hovering about but also because it was sunny and warm. After our lunch, there was about 7.7 miles left on the hike. For the first .7 miles, it was uphill, but for the rest of the hike, it was relatively flat and easy, with multiple small stream crossings and bridge crossings.


Lunch spot by Redwood Creek.

Lunch spot by Redwood Creek.


The 7.7 mile hike along Redwood Creek was beautiful. There were numerous swimming holes to swim at, which was very tempting, but we didn’t have enough time to stop and swim. On your left, there are young redwood trees and sword ferns growing, while on your right, there are hazelnut, red alders and maple trees growing. They were two drastically different types of forests living side by side, only separated by the trail. My favorite part about the tall and skinny trees is how the light shines through their light bright green leaves.

Sunlight through the bright foliage.

Sunlight through the bright foliage.


I’m not quite sure what this tree is called but it is covered in moss and reminds me of the scene in The Hobbit where the company gets swarmed by spiders.

I’m not quite sure what this tree is called but it is covered in moss and reminds me of the scene in The Hobbit where the company gets swarmed by spiders.



With about 3 miles left, I started getting tired, but kept trudging on. We crossed another summer footbridge to get across the creek, and were met with blackberry bushes and wild cucumbers on the other side. I tried a Himalaya berry, which is one of the plants that I map for my project, and it was sweet and juicy. The wild cucumbers were interesting because they had soft spikes on them.

The rest of the hike was easy, but we were glad to reach the car at the Redwood Creek trailhead. We were also very glad that we could take the car and drive back to the Tall Trees trailhead rather than doing the 9.7 miles back to the trailhead. After shuttling back to the car at the Tall Trees trailhead, we started on our drive back home.



On the way home, we stopped at the Redwood Creek Overlook, which is a scenic stop that lets you see the Redwood Creek and the surrounding redwoods. When we stopped though, the clouds and the fog were rolling in and we weren’t able to see much. We also stopped at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, where there is a footbridge that crosses the main road, the Bald Hills road. The footbridge allowed you to see the redwoods about 30 feet off the ground, so it was a different perspective, especially as the fog rolled in and seemed wispy amongst the trees.

Redwood Creek overlook

Redwood Creek overlook

Lady Bird Johnson Grove footbridge across Bald Hills Road.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove footbridge across Bald Hills Road.

It’s one thing to talk about the park and show pictures of the park, but it’s another thing to experience it. Words can never describe how magnificent the Redwood National Park is. It’s no wonder thousands of people travel from across the world to experience it themselves.


Leah’s Blog #2

Week two at Saint-Gaudens was focused on curatorial and collections management. This entails inventory, catalogue, object labeling, rehousing items, and safety concerns/near miss reports. Our main project was inventory, we had to account for objects in the Collections building, Aspet, Little Studio, New Gallery, Atrium, Stables, and Visitor Center. To help us locate and document items we would log on to the computer and use Re-Discovery, which is a catalogue database for all the objects at Saint-Gaudens. It can tell you whether the item is out on loan or at conservation. Is gives a small description about the item, what the item is made of, and who made it. It definitely narrows down the search for certain items. Abigail and I made a binder that separates into sections that correspond to the building located on the grounds here at Saint-Gaudens. Best part of inventory was going through and cataloging all the books that were either bought, given, or written by Saint-Gaudens. Aside from cataloging we complete our weekly cleaning.



The third week focused on conservation and preservation. Out project for the week was to complete annual cleaning for bronze statues and reliefs with the objective of learning basic conservation techniques for bronze objects. The techniques ensure protection against environmental factors such as pollen, dust, water, and insects. We started off with the Shaw Memorial. The SCA interns helped us since it was huge and very details with hard to reach places. The next day we cleaned the farragut statue and throughout the week all the bronze reliefs in the Atrium and the Diana in the Little Studio. We start off by rinsing then using a mild soap (orvus) we wash the piece. Once it is completely dry we apply a thin layer of wax and let it sit for ten minutes and then we buff it out.

c3c4c5Tasco is their security for the alarm systems throughout the park and they came to do a check and switch out the batteries for some of the artwork in the New Gallery. Abigail and I got to learn how to disconnect and change the batteries on the alarms, while also carefully moving and handling the objects. After we were done, we did a test on the items to make sure that the alarms would go off in the case of someone trying to move the art. We also got to visit a Paper conservationist who showed us her studio and some of the documents and pictures she was working on.




Honest disclosure: if I could redesign a city, every street would become a park.

If there is one thing I learned during my time thus far in Boston, is that Bostonians love their parks. And that is no surprise; between Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace, the historic Boston Commons, and the Greenway, there is no shortage of urban oasis in Boston!

I have always found the Greenway particularly interesting; the project bridges between urban rejuvenation and cultural restoration. I had the absolute pleasure this week to meet Keelin Caldwell, an Associate Director of Programs with the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, and join her on a tour of the Greenway to learn a little bit more about its history and its future. We began the tour in Chinatown and made our way north, stopping here and there to admire sites and cool off in the shade. Many of the facts that Keelin shared with us surprised me: the Greenway hosts over 400 events each year and that it has been instrumental in the revival of food trucks in the city. Compared to other park projects in the last few decades, the Greenway leads the way using a 50-50 funding model between public and non-profit sources. The R.F.K. Greenway oversees the development, maintenance, and governance of the Greenway, but the city supports the Conservancy. I love how the Greenway is designed to accommodate the needs of casual, spontaneous use. Little things, like moveable furniture, are often avoided in parks because of the risk of misuse or theft; however, the furniture on the Greenway allows visitors to create their own experience of the place. Keelin also talked about how since the Greenway opened, it has been coined the happiest place in Boston. I totally agree. The Greenway hosts an impressive collection of horticultural variety; I was taken back by how well many of the large trees and plantings were adapted to a human-environment. Unlike a traditional park, the Greenway’s plants root into a highly engineered ground, because it sits above the tunnel.


The Greenway from above. Source: Wikimedia.

The Greenway’s history did not start so ‘green.’ In fact, it was anything but. Before the linear park existed, the 3.5 miles long swath of the city was divided by an elevated highway (Interstate-93) that was constructed around the 1950s. Similar to many infrastructure projects of that period, cities sought highway project to alleviate road congestion, gentrify older districts, and divide city neighborhoods. When constructed through Boston, Interstate-93 cut through buildings, broke entire neighborhoods from the city downtown, and reconstructed the social space of the city – unfortunately for the worse.


In 1982, a project began to revisit the existence of the elevated highway. The city chose an ambitious project: to put the highway underground. The Central Artery/Tunnel Project was the first of its kind, at least at its scale (and budget). In 1991, ground finally broke and the construction started; it lasted 16 long years. During the construction period, a call for proposals was released, to envision a new use for the restored land. The Conservancy, various architects and landscape architects, planners, and engineers collaborated together to compose a new park for the city of Boston. The design incorporated public art, social spaces, transportation connections, horticultural resources, cultural sites, play spaces, and venues, large and small. The many components of the park attach linearly above where the interstate traces underground. The park, as Keelin described, is a new type of park for Boston, because it focuses on ‘urban modern.’ Finally in 2006, Boston’s Greenway came to fruition.


Big Dig planning. Source: Mass DOT


My interests in landscape architecture tend to focus around infrastructure and transportation. I believe streets and rails to be some of the most persistent construction in out landscapes and cities. They structure the development of cities, support the lives of millions of people over hundreds of years, and are often hardly given second glance. The Big Dig contrasts many of these emphases. At first, it was a highway aligned independent of Boston’s existing transportation network, and divided city life, rather than connect it. The Greenway gave the people back that portion of the city, but in many ways it is a complete reinvention upon a scar that will never truly heal. The highway incision was a city surgery gone wrong, but I think the Greenway exemplifies urban social resilience.

Learning about the Greenway reminded me of a project (currently underway) in my home city of Hartford, Connecticut. In the 1950s, Interstate-84 was constructed through the central core of the city. Similar to Interstate-93 in Boston, the elevated highway divided downtown from the northern districts, demolished entire ethnic neighborhoods, and turned the breadth of Hartford into a giant parking lot. Over the past half-century, the viaduct has aged, pressing Hartford to plan reconstruction.

hartford preservation alliance - after

View of Hartford during the last few months of construction. Interstate-84 runs east-west through the city, narrowly avoiding Bushnell Park, the State Capitol, and Union Station. Source: Hartford Preservation Alliance

The Interstate-84 Project began to study different options for the highway and sought public input. I often dream about Hartford undertaking their own Big Dig project, reconnecting Downtown, and spurring a renaissance of city life. After following the project’s progress over the last few years, an Interstate-84 tunnel appears out of question and I fear a reverberation of tough times for Hartford.


Construction of the Interstate-84 viaduct, with historic Union Station in the background. Source: CT DOT

So, how does this relate to landscape preservation? Everything!

Although, infrastructure projects of this scale often leave complete physical destruction in their path, they create a space to reconnect parts of the city previously severed. Landscape preservation is just as much about social memories and character of the environment, as it is about perpetuating existing elements. When you walk along the Greenway in Boston, you walk through dozens of neighborhoods simultaneously. The Greenway’s design expresses the culture and history of the city in subtle ways. Although, I would have to see more historical narrative sewn into the design, I think that Bostonians already recognize the park as part of their own histories.



This week, I got to check off two very different accomplishments. First, the draft history of the Saugus CLR is complete! While historical research and synthesis is a familiar exercise, thinking about the past in terms of landscape was largely new to me and a fun lesson in reading familiarly themed texts through an alternate lens. My real concern, however, was the mapping. When I started at the Olmsted Center last year, I’d only ever used QGIS (the free counterpart to ArcGIS), dabbled in the Adobe Suite, and never even heard of AutoCAD. Thankfully Professor Tim and the rest of the team at OCLP have a seemingly endless patience for questions and an endless supply of instructional literature.


There are a multitude of benefits to working with OCLP, but to me, the technical training is the most practically valuable. In a saturated job market for recent graduates, I’ve never seen another organization willing to hire someone who lacks independent working knowledge of their most heavily used programs. Even rarer is finding a job that’s willing to provide comprehensive training rather than redistribute responsibilities. This is especially important for young professionals and recent graduates in terms of software like CAD, ArcGIS, and the Adobe Suite that can be prohibitively expensive, yet are part of an increasingly required skill set. I still have a long way to go, but completing the Saugus draft maps is a great feeling.


My other accomplishment came from taking a vacation from the park service to spend more time with the park service. On Thursday, I completed the Wild Caves Tour at Mammoth Cave National Park – an intense 6 hour, 6 mile cave hike that involves frequently squeezing through holes no more than 9 inches high, army crawling long distances under foot high shelves, straddling 20 foot drops, and scooting up vertical rock shafts. A good friend rates fun as Type 1 (fun while you do it, fun after) and Type 2 (terrifying while you do it, fun after), and it was a healthy mix of both!


What stood out to me more than the physical challenge, however, was how well the rangers balance adventure with natural and cultural resource history. Learning about the Mammoth Cave cultural landscape was especially interesting because there’s both a subterranean and surface history. Inside the cave, our guides described not only the geological processes that formed the cave, but highlighted the variety of individuals who explored and shaped what is now known as Mammoth Cave since as early as the 1800s. This included notable contributions from enslaved people and women, whose stories are not always highlighted. Above ground, we got lucky to catch a ranger talk highlighting the families who historically lived within the modern park boundary, their land use and impact, and ancestors’ involvement in the formation of the park. This, of course, made me think of everyone at OCLP! In the end, the ranger giving the talk revealed she was the great great great granddaughter of an influential caving family that lived on the property, one in a long line of cave professionals, and the first woman in the family to lead to cave tours. Experiences like these, and the enthusiasm of park employees to share their cultural and natural resource knowledge, are another reason I love working with the park service AND getting to be a tourist.


Off to a great start at CUVA

Off to a great start at CUVA

by: Eric Olson

The first two weeks of my internship at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CUVA) have been a real whirlwind, leading me all over the park and meeting so many new people who keep the Park running on a daily basis. Within the first week I probably read about 200 pages! Some people read fiction in their free time, I read archaeological reports. I also got to go outside and see first-hand some of the sites I had been reading about. It is one thing to read about an archaeological site and see it on a topographic map, but it is a very different perspective in person.

The projects I will be working on at CUVA are playing to my strengths. Heading into this internship, I was coming off of a yearlong AmeriCorps service with the Ohio History Connection and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. I had spent a lot of time over the past year documenting archaeological sites that had not been formally reported in Summit County. Some of the sites I had added had turned out to be in CUVA, though not in their management.

Using these skills I had picked up during my year of AmeriCorps service, my supervisor gave me two boxes full of artifacts that were recently discovered by visitors to the park. My task for the week was to analyze the objects and write short descriptions including temporally diagnostic attributes about each of the artifacts. I spent a lot of time in the lab using Munsell Color charts, calipers, and scales. It was a lot of fun since I enjoy delving deep into historical research and finding provenience to artifacts.

One of the artifacts I examined was a Woodland (1000 B.C.—A.D. 1000) gorget made of slate. The prehistory of the Cuyahoga Valley is diverse and rich, full of odd cultural patterns that sometimes do not conform to archaeological trends in Ohio. For example, earthwork building really takes off in the Cuyahoga Valley after the Hopewell culture (A.D. 1—400). Based on the location of this gorget, it seems likely that it was manufactured by someone during the Late Woodland (A.D. 400-1000) or Late Prehistoric (A.D. 1000-1650) periods.

Starting next week, I’ll be diving into the historical research and previous investigations a few new sites around the park.