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Interview with Dianne Latham Cashman by Andrew French for Historic New England

Dianne Latham Cashman in costume 

 

"There’s a lot of memories from this place, from working here—and like I said, the family atmosphere was really important at the time. And there was a lot of laughing that went on here with the people that I worked with at the time. We all supported each other. There was a lot of creative people who worked here, as well—a lot of intelligent people. People who really loved history, loved the house."

AF: What impact do you feel the Gables makes on the
community?


DC: There’s a lot—because there’s outreach programs as well, there’s
educational programs which I think that they do that I think are—well,
at least the ones that I was involved in—I thought they were very
good. So I think that there’s a community impact that I’ve always
admired. That’s probably—that’s probably one of the biggest
impacts, but I think the site has a lot to offer and I think that it just has
a lot of interesting things connected to it. It has a very interesting
history. And you can take that information and you can—if you’re
interested in learning more, you can go other places that are not too
far to find information about either Hawthorne or the period in time.
Some people come here just for the architecture or for the furnishings
and they want to learn about that. I mean, there’s a whole—there’s
whole different levels of learning that can go on, that’s inspired by
this one place.


AF: What impact do you feel the Settlement makes on the community?


DC: Well, it’s been doing that for a very long time—you know, since
Caroline Emmerton started it. I’m trying to remember the history of
why it started—I think it was for immigrants that came. Yeah, so it’s
been doing a lot of good for a number of years. So, it may have
changed over time as to how it reaches out to the community, but it’s
still there, which I think says something. And it’s still a part of this
site. So I think that’s important—I think that’s important, too. I don’t
know much about what it’s doing today and what the programs are
today, so I can’t comment on that. But I think the fact that it stood the
test of time should say something. It should stand on its own, yeah.
AF: And what impact did the Gables and the Settlement have on you?
DC: It—I think because of my experiences here, it made me just continue
to enjoy history and be connected to it, to the point where I did decide
to go through the Tufts course as well. And I concentrated on
museum education but I ended up doing that—I mean, right now I’m
still teaching. And I didn’t know if I was going to do anything with
that certificate that I earned and all that work I did, but I knew I
wanted to do it because I had a love for history and because of my
experiences here—I think that sort of helped me make that decision.
I’m a museum geek—I like to get lost in museums. So this was the
perfect place for me, I really—you know, and the people at the time
also made it worthwhile as well.

 

Interview with Dianne Latham Cashman by Andrew French for Historic New England