Archive for the ‘Project Outreach & Communication’ Category

Thanks for exploring Hodges Gardens with me.  I’m pleased that this project created some new Hodges Gardens fans and even re-sparked feelings for the Garden that were experienced decades ago.  Thank you for your comments and suggestions.  Your presence and contributions both assisted the research process and added life to this blog.

Understanding Your Historic Landscape, a guide for researching historic landscapes.

Today is the last day of my internship here at NCPTT.  Recently, I’ve been working on a historic landscape research guide, which uses examples from the research that this blog represents.  Called Understanding Your Historic Landscape, the document presents suggestions for researching and documenting historic landscapes–suggestions which will hopefully be helpful to readers from backgrounds other than historic landscape studies.  When the guide is ready for online viewing, a link will be provided here on the blog.   Similarly, the guide will link readers back to this blog.

Although I will no longer regularly update Exploring Hodges Gardens, it will remain online.  The blog will be available as a resource for future research, and will remain a location where readers can revisit Hodges Gardens and share comments.  Again, thanks for your interest in Exploring Hodges Gardens.  This has been a rewarding experience, and I look forward to sharing the completed guide.  The following is an excerpt from the introduction page of the guide.

“Historic landscapes are all around us.   From the National Mall in Washington D.C., to the rural hamlets, farms, resorts, parks, battlefields, and cemeteries around our own neighborhoods and regions, our heritage is alive and reflected in the landscape…

Many products of historic landscape research (including the CLI, CLR, and HALS) are best accomplished by practitioners in the above mentioned fields. However, much can be learned about an historic landscape by people of any background—given a genuine interest in the landscape and a basic aptitude for research…

Recognizing primary requirements of historic landscape research, this document aims to recommend techniques for better understanding an historic landscape—and most importantly, to present the information in a way that is useful to interested persons of any background or training…”


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The Cultural Landscape Foundation hosts an online resource called What’s Out There.  Supported in part by the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training, What’s Out There is a database recognizing significant cultural landscapes across the U.S.  A couple days ago they accepted an entry I submitted for Hodges Gardens.  Hodges Gardens will join more than one thousand other significant cultural landscapes in the online database, which will provide an additional route for people to discover and appreciate Hodges Gardens.  See Hodges Gardens in the archive here http://tclf.org/landscapes/hodges-garden-state-park.

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The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, met at the Hodges Gardens Gift Shop last Saturday, July 30 for a working meeting.  Hodges Gardens Manager Kim Kelly invited Debbie and me to the meeting and encouraged us to speak briefly on the history of the Gardens as well as on my research through this Exploring Hodges Gardens project.

Kim welcomed the group a little after 9am, and I shared a brief overview of the Hodges Gardens research.   Debbie covered some notable history of Hodges Gardens landscape architects Hare & Hare.  The Louisiana Trust is very much interested in Hodges Gardens, and would like to see the landscape nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.  As we continue to understand the the nationally recognized landscape architects’ influence on Hodges Gardens, this will bring more national significance to the property, which should increase its’ eligibility for a National Register listing.  The naturally-lit Hodges Gardens Gift Shop (c. 1962) provided a pleasant meeting space for the National Trust meeting.  Thanks again to Kim for connecting us with this group and introducing us to Louisiana National Trust leaders.

Discussion with the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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The National Center for Preservation Technology & Training is hosting Preservation in Your Community, an annual research and project showcase, at the NCPTT headquarters in Natchitoches tonight, August 2.  Several NCPTT summer interns and other local partners will be sharing work, and I will be sharing the above poster on Hodges Gardens landscape research.  The event is sponsored by NCPTTCane River National Heritage Area, and Cane River Creole National Historical Park.  If you are in the area, I hope you will consider attending.  The come-and-go event happens from 5pm to 7pm.

Update: the evening was a success!  Numerous friendly, interested folks attended PIYC last night.  Appetizers and drinks were available as people gathered and conversed.  Interns and area partners shared research, projects, and other information.

Discussing Hodges Gardens research with Preservation in Your Community visitors. Photo credit: Debbie Smith.

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Last Wednesday, July 27, I posted to the NCPTT website and shared a summary of this Hodges Gardens research.  The National Center for Preservation Technology & Training progresses preservation research, and it partners with the private and public sector through education, training, and grants.  I provided a link on the NCPTT post to encourage more readers to visit this Exploring Hodges Gardens blog.   You can check out the post, and learn more about NCPTT and the Historic Landscapes program here at http://ncptt.nps.gov/category/historic-landscapes/

I hope you enjoyed the House Island photos shared in the previous post.  I have several more photos I would like to share, and am working on making images available on Flickr.com.  This will help keep blog posts at a reasonable length and provide an exciting atmosphere to continue expanding the online Hodges Gardens community through this historic landscape research.  View the Exploring Hodges Gardens Flickr photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/exploringhodgesgardens/   Many of the House Island photos I uploaded in Flickr were taken by Jennifer Mui, NCPTT Architecture & Engineering intern.

Exploring Hodges Gardens Flickr photo page. See more Hodges Gardens research photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/exploringhodgesgardens/

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During the week of July 11-15 I continued field/office research, prepared a lunchtime lecture on my University of Arkansas senior capstone project, and attended the monthly Friends of Hodges Gardens Board Meeting.

Lunchtime Lecture. The National Center for Preservation Technology & Training is hosting a lunchtime lecture series this summer in which interns are invited to share past or current research. I spoke on my University of Arkansas senior capstone project, which included analysis and treatment recommendations on an historic vernacular landscape in eastern Oklahoma. Image credit: Sean Clifford, NCPTT.

I spoke on the Beck Mill Cultural Landscape in my lunchtime lecture hour.  A two semester senior capstone project, I summarized highlights of my research spanning initial site selection through final cultural landscape treatment recommendations and design proposals for an educational center/museum facility.  A multi-disciplinary project of archaeologists, historical architects, conservators, historic preservation consultants, and passionate locals, it was very exciting to contribute from a landscape architecture perspective.  To learn more about the historic Beck-Hildebrand Mill, visit www.thebeckmill.org.

On Friday, July 15 Debbie and I returned to the Garden for the Friends of Hodges Gardens monthly board meeting.  Much has been discovered since our meeting with them in mid-June, so it was exciting to share updates.  We shared the Hare & Hare landscape architecture discovery and also that of increasing interest in Hodges Gardens research, including our conversation with Carol Grove, Ph.D, University of Missouri.   We also mentioned some of the oral history interviews that have occurred.   Finally we discussed a thought on potentially engaging locals on the Gardens’ cultural significance research.  When Addy, Linda, and I recently met, Linda mentioned that many folks have chosen Hodges Gardens as the setting for their wedding engagement photography.  I shared Addy’s suggestion in encouraging photographed individuals/couples to submit a photo or two to a common place.  This was timely discussion as the Board planned to discuss their website design later in the meeting.  Perhaps a photo gallery on the web would be a great storage and display space.  Such an outreach project could help further build the supportive online Hodges Gardens community, as well as document/preserve a local significance aspect of the historical research.

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Hodges Gardens State Park is located roughly 5 hours SE of Dallas, 4 hours NE of Houston, and 5 hours NW of New Orleans.  The city of Alexandria, LA (AEX airport) is located 70 miles to the east.

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