Saturday, June 06, 2009

Rafal Landscape Center Opened June 5

Despite the weather, the opening of the Rafal Landscape Center was a lovely event!

Located in a traditional 19th century barn, the Rafal Landscape Center forms an integral part of how visitors experience the Museum. This outbuilding, which dates to the mid-19th century, is worthy of preservation as an example of a surviving Connecticut barn and as part of the cultural landscape of the Lyme Art Colony. The barn underwent a comprehensive restoration (described in earlier blog posts) to make it structurally sound, ADA compliant, and accessible to the public. Every effort was made to maintain the barn’s rustic character. The architectural plans and design decisions have been guided by how the barn looked in the early 20th century as documented by paintings and photographs in Museum’s collection. The barn’s appearance is consistent with the presentation of the Florence Griswold House as a boardinghouse for artists, c. 1910, and the interpretation of Miss Florence’s perennial and vegetable gardens, which are adjacent to the barn.

The barn features an exhibition that highlights the history and significance of the region’s landscape. In addition, the building includes program space for workshops and a work area for the Museum’s garden volunteers. This new center is one of the many special events planned for the Museum’s Year of the American Landscape. Funding for the project came from a variety of sources, including a generous gift from the Rafal Family and a Historic Restoration Fund grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. The exhibit was made possible thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council, which also funded the programming and promotion of the Year of the American Landscape.

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