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News New England and Beyond

Landscape Restoration
Last summer, landscape architects Mohr & Seredin of Portland, Maine, recreated the Japanese-inspired garden at the Gropius House, Lincoln, Massachusetts, based on period photographs and analysis of surviving original plant material. Walter and Ise Gropius designed the garden, with azaleas, cotoneasters, and a red-leafed Japanese maple in a gravel bed, following a trip to Japan in 1957. The restoration is part of a multi-year project made possible by a grant from the federally funded Save America’s Treasures program, matched by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

SPNEA Vice President Appointed
Philip Zea has assumed the position of Vice President for Museums and Collections, responsible for overseeing SPNEA’s house museums and archival and artifactual collections, along with their conservation, exhibition, and interpretation. Prior to coming to SPNEA, Mr. Zea was Curator of Furniture at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, and before that served as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Historic Deerfield, Inc., in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

The Golden Step, a large model ship that gives its name to one of the principal rooms at Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, has been conserved. The model of a late nineteenth-century sailing freighter, displayed on an antique Chinese funeral bier, is a feature of the main dining room overlooking Gloucester Harbor. Massachusetts conservator Mark Sutherland, who specializes in ship models and scrimshaw, completed the work on site.

News_designer2002 Designer Craftsmen Show

For the third year in a row, SPNEA will participate in the juried invitational Designer Craftsmen Show of Boston, at the Sheraton Colonial in Wakefield, Massachusetts, March 8–10. The display, showcasing traditional crafts, contemporary folk art, and museum-quality replicas, also features reproductions of items from SPNEA collections made by Historic New England licensees. The preview party on Friday, March 8, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, offers a first opportunity to view and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. A display of reproduction eighteenth-century-style men’s and women’s costumes created with ordinary paper products will be on view; their creator, Historic Deerfield Curator of Textiles Edward Maeder and SPNEA President Jane Nylander will be present to discuss these fanciful fashions. Fifty percent of the proceeds from opening night will benefit SPNEA. Watch for your invitation in the mail.

What Makes a Costume Historic?
Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift is not only the first woman governor of Massachusetts but also the first woman governor anywhere to be pregnant while in office. Shortly after her twins were born, she received a letter from SPNEA President Jane Nylander, pointing out that the maternity clothes worn for the transfer ceremony had historic significance—both for their association with an important event and because they symbolize developments in the culture. Happily, the governor has generously donated her outfit to SPNEA. Her jacket and skirt, by Boston designer Elizabeth Harris, along with a photograph of the occasion, are the first items of the new century to enter SPNEA’s extensive costume collection.

SPNEA Publication Wins Award
The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has selected SPNEA’s book Windows on the Past: Four Centuries of New England Homes, by Jane Nylander and Diane Viera, as a winner of an AASLH Certificate of Commendation for 2001. The AASLH Awards Program is the nation’s most prestigious competition recognizing achievement in the preservation and interpretation of local, state, and regional history.

Casey Family History Carved in Stone
Behind the barns at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, lies a small family burial ground containing about fifty stones and monuments dating from 1747 to 1940. Preservation consultants Minxie and Jim Fannin, of Fannin-Lehner of Concord, Massachusetts, have just completed documenting and assessing conditions at the graveyard. Their report will form the basis for conservation scheduled for 2002, in time for the Casey Farm tercentennial. In addition to recording the inscription on each stone and assessing its condition, the consultants were also able to identify many of the stone carvers; some were Newport artisans, while others worked as far away as New York City and Washington, D.C.

News New England and Beyond