All News & Blogs
Fateful trip to Colonial Williamsburg started journey for new park superintendent
This file photo shows a costumed interpreter greeting a horse at the birthplace site.
FILE/ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
By Rob Hedelt
Lawliss, who's teaching a historic landscape course at the University of Mary Washington, said the approach uses study of a site's whole landscape to better understand its history and the way land use has changed through the years.
At the Washington Birthplace park, the focus starts with the fact that Washington was born on what was then Pope's Creek Plantation.
Telling the story of the Washington family in general, and the way the small farm and plantation evolved through the years, is a constant challenge.
At the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front Park, she was proud of strides made to reach into the black community to find a rich resource: women who had actually worked at the park.
"One of the stories told
Lawliss said she'd like to get oral histories from Westmoreland and other Northern Neck families who have a history with the site.
Though she's still learning about Washington and the park, she strongly believes in bringing history alive there with costumed interpreters and working spots that range from a Colonial kitchen to a blacksmith shop.
"Budget considerations may dictate that we use creative ways to get this done, as we are now with our heritage 4-H club, but it's critical to make history real to visitors, especially our younger ones."
The landscape architect in her also wants to find additional ways to let people enjoy the park's natural resources.
"We're looking at something as simple as having the park open certain evenings, but closing off some of the roads for a time," she said. "This would let families explore without worrying about cars or traffic."nps.gov/gewa
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415