April 26, 2022 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, the master designer of public parks and a founder of the field landscape architecture. Join historian and filmmaker Laurence Cotton (originator of and consulting producer to the PBS special “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America”) as he does a deep dive into the remarkable life and career of the Renaissance-man Olmsted–writer, philosopher, social reformer, advocate for the preservation of natural scenery, and creator of some of the most beautiful public and private parks and gardens in all of North America.

In his presentation, Laurence will talk about the influences of design traditions, aesthetics and philosophies that influenced Olmsted’s thought—including English garden design, the Hudson River School and Transcendentalism, and the role the public park as a “public health institution”—in times past and present. Laurence will also give a visual tour of representative masterful landscapes designed by Olmsted, Senior, as well as his two sons and the Olmsted Bros. landscape architecture firm, with a focus on southern New England.

$5 CHS members, $10 non-members; $8 for seniors. Light refreshments will be provided. Purchase tickets here. Includes admission to the museum galleries — come early to view!

Questions? Contact Adult Programs Manager Natalie Belanger via email at natalie_belanger@chs.org, or call (860) 236-5621 x289.

About The Speaker

Laurence Cotton, currently based in Portland, Oregon, a city that benefits from an Olmsted-master planned park system, originally hails from Boston, renowned for its Olmsted landscapes and the home base for generations of landscape design practitioners working for the Olmsted Bros. firm. A practicing public historian, and writer/producer of historical films for PBS, Mr. Cotton was trained as a cultural anthropologist and brings that lens to bear on much of his work. He has worked with the tribal populations on throughout the Columbia River watershed and has also worked on open space acquisition and the designs of parks and trails in Pacific Northwest. He also brings training as an interpretive naturalist, is a birder and a photographer. His visit to Hartford is one of many such stops on his 2022 tour of the U.S. to present programs about the Olmsted legacy.