Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) recently announced four teams have advanced as finalists in National Parks Now, a competition inviting multidisciplinary teams of young professionals to reshape the national parks visitor experience.
Each team will now receive a $15,000 stipend to work with a broad range of stakeholders to develop digital tools, hands-on workshops, self-led tours, interactive installations, outreach and engagement campaigns, and other strategies that connect these parks to larger, more diverse audiences throughout the region.
The finalist teams will be working at sites that tell complex stories about one of the country’s densest and most diverse urban regions and contain countless layers of the nation’s economic, ecological, and cultural history. The four teams and sites are:
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Oyster Bay, NY), the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt. Team Wayward / Projects is led by Putri Trisulo of Project Projects with Prem Krishnamurthy, Katie Okamoto, Alfons Hooikaas, Ben DuVall, Heather Ring, Amy Seek, Thomas Kendall, and Jarred Henderson. Their project will create a symbiotic partnership model capitalizing on the existing audiences and curatorial resources of prominent cultural institutions to reinterpret histories and reinvigorate Sagamore Hill.
Steamtown National Historic Site (Scranton, PA), one of the world’s most important monuments to the steam locomotive. Led by Abigail Smith-Hanby of FORGE with Ashley Ludwig, Andrew Dawson, Max Lozach, and CJ Gardella. Team FORGE proposes to weave together stories and information in order to root Steamtown within the larger American cultural landscape.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (Paterson, NJ), a historic birthplace of American textile manufacturing. Led by Manuel Miranda of MMP and the Yale School of Art with Frances Medina, Mariana Mogilevich, Valeria Mogilevich, June Williamson, and Willy Wong. The team will work with high school students and local stakeholders to explore retrofitting the park to engage the city, retelling the site’s history to engage contemporary audiences, and representing the site to new publics.
Weir Farm National Historic Site (Ridgefield, CT), the summer estate of the artist Julian Alden Weir. Led by Aaron Forrest of the Rhode Island School of Design and Principal of Ultramoderne with Yasmin Vobis, Suzanne Mathew, Noah Klersfeld, Dungjai Pungauthaikan, and Jessica Forrest. The team will work with students at the Rhode Island School of Design to look at introducing sitespecific, contemporary artistic practices to Weir Farm in order to develop new perspectives on the site and the region’s history and ecology.
In spring 2015, one winning team will be selected to receive an additional $10,000 to create a prototype for one of their strategies, which will be implemented at their site in summer of 2015. As NPS prepares to celebrate its
centennial in 2016, National Parks Now will pioneer a model for transforming similar parks nationwide.
More information at National Parks Now
Images Courtesy of National Parks Service and Van Alen Institute