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News New England and Beyond


Firm Foundation
The large barn connected to the Marrett House, Standish, Maine, was stabilized on steel beams a few years ago. This spring, the barn's stone foundation is being rebuilt, thanks to a matching grant from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Rethinking the Otis House
Cheryl Robertson, a noted decorative arts specialist with extensive expertise in museum interpretation, will oversee the reinterpretation and reinstallation of SPNEA’s flagship museum, the Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston. The five-year project involves refurbishing, refurnishing, and deciding on an interpretive narrative for the 1796 house as well as structural analysis, improved systems, archaeology, and landscaping. Ms. Robertson brings to the task over twenty years’ experience at museums such as the Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware, and the Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, Massachusetts. "It is a privilege to be working with such an important legacy of American history as the Otis House," she remarks. "I am especially pleased that the house will remain open during most of our investigation into its past. Visitors will be able to share in the dynamic process of historical research and discovery."

Collections on Tour
Items from SPNEA’s collections are making noteworthy appearances at other museums. Loaned objects include: an 1876 dress with portrait medallions of George Washington, which traveled to three museums as part of the exhibition George Washington: American Symbol; an eighteenth-century century walking stool in Kids! 200 Years of Childhood through February 19, 2001, at the Winterthur Museum; "Phyllis," an eighteenth-century painted dummy board in E Pluribus Unum: Maine and the Making of a Nation at the Maine Historical Society through October 2000; and an abolitionist quilt in Art and The Empire City: The Visual Arts in New York, 1825-1861, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from September 2000 through January 7, 2001.

Enter and Win!

Don’t forget SPNEA’s photo contest, Picturing New England, during your summer travels.

Photographs of any New England activity or scene taken in the year 2000 are eligible. All entries will be permanently archived in SPNEA’s collection of historic photographs. For more information, call Jennifer Soucey at (617) 227-3957, ext. 270, or check the full contest description at

Collecting the Twentieth Century

During the last decade, SPNEA has steadily added to its collection of objects produced and used in the twentieth century. Noteworthy recent accessions include a 1940s baby bouncer, record albums owned by the Gropius family, and a Royalites Christmas tree light set in its original packaging used in a Medford, Massachusetts, home in 1953 and 1954.



Stewardship Properties Find New Owners
Two properties protected by perpetual preservation restrictions administered by SPNEA’s Stewardship Program have been transferred to new owners. The Freegrace Marble Farm, above, (c. 1760) in Sutton, Massachusetts, with easements protecting the farmhouse, outbuildings, and fifty-three acres of undeveloped land, has been acquired by owners who will undertake immediate repairs to the farmhouse with SPNEA’s careful oversight. The Field-Hodges House (c. 1837), located near the busy commercial center of North Andover, Massachusetts, was recently sold by the estate of Miss Sarah Field. The estate donated extensive interior and exterior preservation restrictions to SPNEA, protecting the main house, attached ell, and large barn from insensitive alteration. In addition two acres of land are protected against subdivision.

Get Jaded at Gropius House

Offspring of the often admired Gropius House jade plant (Crassula argentea) are now available for sale. Originally a gift to Ise Gropius, the jade plant thrived in the Gropius House, eventually reaching more than two feet in height. Live plants, blurring the line between interior and the exterior, were significant elements in the Gropiuses’ living spaces; they usually had more than twenty specimens throughout the house—beside a chair, climbing up the glass block wall, even hanging down from a light fixture. If you are interested in acquiring your own rooted cutting from the Gropiuses’ parent plant, call the Gropius House at (781) 259-8098.


Lost Gardens Will Travel
If you missed the exhibition Lost Gardens of New England at One Bowdoin Square in Boston last season, you can see it this summer at the Wethersfield Museum, as part of a joint program with the Webb-Deane-Stevens House in Wethersfield, Connecticut. SPNEA’s images will be supplemented with pictures of the colonial revival garden at the Webb-Deane-Stevens House, currently undergoing conservation/restoration.

And the Winner Is...
SPNEA 1999 Book Prize goes to Boston’s Changeful Times: Origins of Preservation and Planning in America by Michael Holleran. Mr. Holleran, who teaches architecture and planning at the University of Colorado, examines how Boston’s power structure responded to economic and demographic pressures by working to preserve historic monuments and create open spaces for public use, thereby establishing a national model. Copies are $39.95 ($35 for SPNEA members) plus $6 for shipping and handling (add tax for CT, MA, RI, and ME). For more information, call (617) 570-9105, ext. 227.
—Compiled by Catherine Mageau
Marketing Coordinator

News New England and Beyond