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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file for the "Arnold Arboretum" (with photographs) and other source material about the arboretum and Frederick Law Olmsted. Arnold Arboretum was written by Alan Banks, Park Ranger at Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. It was edited by Fay Metcalf, education consultant, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. The lesson was developed as a cooperative effort between the park and Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson can be used in teaching units on late 19th-century urban expansion, especially as influenced by immigration and the Industrial Revolution. It also could form the core of an interdisciplinary unit when used in conjunction with lessons on the Romantic and Transcendentalist movements and lessons on botany.
Time period: Late 19th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To consider how 19th-century urban conditions influenced the development and design of parks.
2) To examine the history of the Arnold Arboretum and its role in the Boston park system.
3) To gain a better understanding of Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Sprague Sargent, the two men responsible for the Arnold Arboretum.
4) To conduct research about the history of planned parks in their own community.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) one map of the Boston Park System;
2) three readings about the establishment of Arnold Arboretum;
3) one drawing & two photos of the arboretum and its construction.

Visiting the site
The Arnold Arboretum is located in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The main gate is located on the Arborway, 100 yards south of the intersection of Route 1 and 203. The grounds are open to the public everyday from dawn dusk. For more information, contact the Arnold Arboretum, 125 The Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, or visit the Web site. To find out more about Frederick Law Olmsted, contact the Superintendent, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (the cooperating agency for the Arnold Arboretum), 99 Warren Street, Brookline, MA 02146, or visit the park's Web site.



Comments or Questions

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