Arguably few terms cover more “ground” than “cultural landscape.” In fact, almost any part of the world affected by humans can fit within the overall classification. The microcosm of that world which is Stratford Hall’s nearly 2,000 acres can itself be examined as a unique cultural landscape. This, in turn, consists of component landscapes such as the acreage encompassing the Great House, its dependencies, and gardens,as well as the beach, mill, and millpond area on the Potomac River. Carrying this further, the Stratford landscape(s) can then be assessed both diachronically and synchronically, that is examination of continuity and change over an expanse of time, as well as in-depth analysis focused on one or more limited periods of time.
To guide board and staff to a deeper understanding of our spot on the globe, we will soon have historic landscape professionals undertake a detailed study of the Stratford property, the ultimate result being a cultural landscape report. This, and especially its various “treatment” recommendations, will provide the foundation for a landscape master plan which will guide us toward the best ways to manage and interpret our fields, forests, river front, grounds, and gardens. We’ll keep you posted