Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn A Modern Vision for an Historic Cemetery | Page 19

Mount Auburn with a motto that sums up what makes his work here so different from a traditional indoor space : don ’ t fight the site .“ When you ’ re in a theater , you can create whatever reality you want , and it ’ s easy to encourage the imagination . When you ’ re outside , with a concrete reality all around you … it ’ s really , really important to think hard about what you ’ re seeing and what you ’ re doing .” In other words ,“ I would be foolish to try and set a play in a desert next to Willow Pond !”
Challenges notwithstanding , Patrick is excited about the opportunities for site-specific performances to engage theatergoers in an unconventional setting like Mount Auburn , especially the ability to create a uniquely intimate experience for the audience . While not technically breaking the fourth wall ( having actors address the audience directly ), he has found that the barrier between the two sides is more relaxed than in a traditional theater , simply because the performance space is all around them , transporting them into the story on a deeper level .“ That change of relationship is so exciting for me , because it builds a sense of intimacy between everybody … people get really excited by that ,” he explains . In the process , he can create new , deeper ways for audiences to engage with the history and nature around them .

Grant News

By Jenny Gilbert , Director of Institutional Advancement
In 1831 , civil engineer and surveyor Alexander Wadsworth ( 1806 – 1898 ) used the tools of his trade — a compass and a 66-foot chain of 100 swiveled links — to survey the land comprising the first 72 acres of Mount Auburn Cemetery . And until very recently , Wadsworth would have recognized the tools at Mount Auburn in the measuring tapes and compasses we used to map our plant collections . However , more recently , global positioning and mapping technology , as well as a series of generous grants , have given us new tools for mapping our collections that Wadsworth would have struggled to identify .
With three grants from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust ( 2014 – 2015 ), we have been able to purchase GPSbased tools . These resources enabled our curatorial staff to purchase the hardware and software needed to collect data in the field that feeds directly into a geodatabase . In 2016 , we received a Museums for America grant ( MA-30-17- 0309 ) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to hire Brian Morgan from the Alliance for Public Gardens GIS and ESRI to install his GIS ( geographic information system ) database model on our servers and configure the hardware and server software to allow the database to run and be accessible via the Internet .
The public can get a first look at his work in Fall 2018 , when he will produce staged readings followed by audience feedback sessions , thanks to a grant from the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust . After further editing , final
Patrick and Director Courtney O ' Connor visit Washington Tower .
productions will start in Spring 2019 . In the meantime , Patrick continues to enjoy getting to know Mount Auburn on every level . “ Learning about the history , whether it ’ s in the archives or talking to the people who work here , has just been so enriching for me personally and artistically , to think about all the possibilities ,” he says . “ It feels like you can just explore and explore and explore , and I wish it was even longer !”
Staged Readings of Patrick ’ s plays will be held : Saturday , September 8th at 1PM Tuesday , September 25th at 5:30PM
These grants set the framework for the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery to apply for and receive a FY2017 $ 100,000 grant ( MA-30-17-0309-17 ) from the IMLS in support of a two-year project to develop a new plant collections online map application that will help guide visitors onsite or enable them to visit the arboretum collections virtually . The grant will allow Mount Auburn ’ s horticulture curatorial staff to work with Blue Raster , LLC , a GIS consultancy group , which will merge our existing plant collections database with ESRI GIS technology ; build online map and plant information functionality on our website ; perform ongoing GIS analysis and development ; and create a mobile data collection application for use in the field . The project will also support interns who will work with our staff to assist with GIS tasks , photograph plants for the database and website , and update the plant collections data electronically during a systematic fieldcheck on the grounds .
The goal to develop online mapping has broadly affected the national community of arboreta . These modern tools are making plant collections data more accurate and accessible , for the better stewardship of living collections .
2018 Volume 1i | 17