Bartram’s Garden, the Wharton Esherick Museum, the Concord Township Historical Society, and the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden are among the honorees for the first annual History in Pennsylvania “HIP” Awards. The awards will be presented at the History Affiliates Luncheon on October 19, 2012.
This is the inaugural year for the History Affiliates Luncheon, which will recognize excellence and innovation in the history and heritage community in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Union League of Philadelphia. The keynote speaker will be the First Lady of Pennsylvania Susan M. Corbett. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at www.hsp.org/hipawards.
Awards honor exceptional educational and public programs, community partnership projects, and stewardship and collections care. The 2012 honorees are:
- The Wharton Esherick Museum for its exhibit “Poplar Culture: the Celebration of a Tree”
- Concord Township Historical Society for “Legacies & Lessons: Western Delaware County Presents the Civil War at 150”
- Friends of the Japanese House and Garden for the historic preservation of Sakura Pavilion
- Bartram’s Garden for its Community Farm and Food Resource Center
Two individuals will be honored as volunteers of the year. They are:
- Louis M. Iatarola, Historical Society of Tacony
- Nancy Roan, Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc.
Bank of America will be honored with the “Leadership by a Corporation in Support of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s History and Heritage Community Award” and History Making Productions will be presented with the “Leadership by a For-Profit Organization for Effective Heritage Tourism and Marketing Award.”
The awards honor volunteer-run, small, and mid-sized history and heritage organizations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. “History and heritage organizations are a central part of the contemporary community and landscape,” says Prudence Haines, director of History Affiliates. “We need to support their efforts to provide us with accurate history and preserve the past.”
The HIP Awards are presented by History Affiliates, a program created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and funded by the Barra Foundation. Among its goals, History Affiliates aims to support history and heritage organizations by developing a sense of community in the field; lowering the barriers of participation in terms of money, time, and location; aggregating information and resources that support heritage organizations; and creating a central “voice” representing the interests of the sector. History Affiliates offers its members a monthly e-newsletter, capacity-building programs and workshops, and advocacy for the history and heritage sector, and is developing a robust website with a variety of resources and an online members directory.
For more information about History Affiliates, visit www.hsp.org/historyaffiliates.
About the Honorees
Wharton Eshrick Museum
Recipient of the Educational and Public Programs Award (Mid-sized Organization)
Winning program: “Poplar Culture: The Celebration of a Tree”
Wharton Esherick (1887-1970) was a sculptor who worked primarily in wood, readily extending his unique forms to furniture, furnishings, utensils, interiors and buildings, creating sculptural environments. His hilltop studio and residence in Malvern, with more than 200 of his works on exhibition, has been preserved much as it was when the artist lived and worked there, and is open to the public.In the late 1970s, a very large poplar tree that stood next to Esherick’s studio was struck by lightning and seriously damaged. The tree’s presence was so important to the landscape and history of Wharton’s studio that the museum staff decided to create something positive from this monumental loss.
Wood from the tree was distributed to professionals and hobbyists, sculptors and furniture makers, in an effort to include all who had been influenced by Esherick’s work. The museum staff wanted to show the continuity between past and present, as well as raise funds and the visibility of the museum. Seventy artists of high caliber agreed to participate and donate their work to support the museum. More than 75 pieces were produced and shown at the gallery at Historic Yellow Springs in Chester County from May 20 through June 10, 2012. More than 1,500 visitors attended the show and many more viewed online. Seventy-four percent of the pieces were sold, and the exhibition raised a total of $39,000 for the Wharton Esherick Museum and Historic Yellow Springs. To learn more about the Wharton Esherick Museum, visit http://www.whartonesherickmuseum.org.
Concord Township Historical Society
Recipient of the Educational and Public Programs Award (All Volunteer Organization)
Winning program: “Legacies and Lessons: Western Delaware County presents the Civil War at 150”
The Concord Township Historical Society in Delaware County is a non-profit volunteer organization, whose purpose is to stimulate interest in Concord Township history through historic document, artifact, and property preservation, research, public and education programs. In 2009, the Concord Township Historical Society began planning an almost year-long commemoration of the 2011 sesquicentennial of American Civil War. By working together with a variety of organizations, the Historical Society hoped to increase program audiences and encourage the participating organizations to collectively undertake more ambitious programming.
A group of 11 organizations met monthly for more than two years and planned a series of programs commemorating the Civil War, including four book reading/discussion programs at the library (funded by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council); five lectures by historians; a visit by the Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show; and “An Evening with Abraham Lincoln.”
Seed money for programs was raised through dues from the 11 participating organizations, Concord Township, as well as local businesses and individuals. Publicity for the programs was frequent and varied. Hundreds of people attended the programs, with the average audience ranging from 35 to 160 people, more than double the number of attendees at previous programs.
“Legacies and Lessons” was a highly positive collaborative working relationship among 11 organizations whose missions are to serve their communities. Community residents who had not participated in history and heritage programs in the past were introduced to Western Delaware County’s rich heritage and became familiar with their local history. For more information about the Concord Township Historical Society, visit www.concordhist.org.
Friends of the Japanese House and Garden
Recipient of The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts Award for Excellence in Stewardship and Collections Care (Mid-sized Organization)
Winning program: Sakura Pavilion at the Centennial Buildings Historic Preservation
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia. The Friends of the Japanese House and Garden (FJHG) partnered with the City of Philadelphia in the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of two Centennial buildings that stand near the Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. During the restoration process, two Centennial era brick buildings were turned into a program space and storage building.
These structures are two of only four buildings remaining in situ from the 1876 Centennial exposition; the other two are Memorial Hall, the home of the Please Touch Museum, and the Ohio House, occupied by the privately owned Centennial Café. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden used them for storage. These buildings have been renamed Sakura (cherry blossom) Pavilion and they stand 60 yards away from the entrance to the Japanese House.
A partnership for this restoration was forged between the City of Philadelphia, the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden, and the Pew Center for Arts and Culture. These newly restored buildings increase the ability of the FJHG to serve targeted audiences, increase audience diversity, and expand attendance and outreach. For more information about the Japanese House and Garden, visit www.shofuso.com.
Recipient of Community Partnership Projects Award (Mid-sized Organization)
Winning program: Community Farm and Food Resource Center
The Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bartram’s Garden, the 18th-century home of John Bartram, has transformed and underutilized recreational space in this Southwest Philadelphia community. This partnership included four organizations: John Bartram Association, Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) of the University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), and the Philadelphia Deptartment of Parks and Recreation.
The centerpiece of the farm is a two-acre vegetable farm managed by youth from a local high school. There is a 30-plot community garden, a 2,500-square-foot greenhouse, and the first orchard at Bartram's Garden since the 1850s that features more than 90 trees. The goal of the farm is to directly model healthy food choices and inspire a love of nature in a community that typically does not have access to the outdoors.
Future plans for the farm include an educational workshop space with a kitchen and community seed bank, which will involve 50 University of Pennsylvania college students who will volunteer to assist the high school interns with the implementation of the project. This collaboration has improved the capacity of the John Bartram Association to be effective stewards of our mission to provide a direct, tangible connection to the natural world. The Farm reflects a fundamental shift in interpretation at Bartram’s Garden from one that is primarily “show and tell” to one that is full of active use and broad community support. For more information about Bartram’s Garden, visit www.bartramsgarden.org.
Volunteers of the Year
Louis M. Iatarola, Historical Society of Tacony
Lou M. Iatarola has been a community leader, local historian, and preservation activist for more than 20 years in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is a board member and longtime active member of the Historical Society of Tacony; he has chaired both the Society’s annual History Day Parade and the Arboretum at Disston Park program since their inceptions. Mr. Iatarola spearheaded the development of a Preservation Plan for Tacony with a University of Pennsylvania Graduate Program and a grant-funded project to install plaques on historic houses in Tacony. Mr. Iatarola is currently working on the Tacony portion of the Philadelphia 2035 comprehensive plan and nominating Tacony for the National Register of Historic Places.
Nancy Roan, Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc.
Nancy Roan has volunteered and made significant contributions of time, energy, and creativity in encouraging interest in and support of the history of the Pennsylvania Dutch for more than 45 years. Ms. Roan serves as an interpreter and guest curator and writes newsletter articles as well as finding, organizing, and cataloging the textile part of the GH Folklife and Country Store Museum. Much of her work has been in the food and textile traditions of the Pennsylvania Germans. She has served as a food consultant to the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival and taught hearth cooking classes at the Henry Antes House, the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania, and the Goschenhoppen Historians.