- GETTING READY FOR 2016:
A Call to Action
- Action Item:
- Out With the Old
- Also Promotes:
- Go Digital
- Year Accomplished:
When a film company comes to a park, there is always a sense of excitement, the equipment, the crew, the food and the actors. Maybe it's the actors, who are cast to portray a person from the past, whom we as stewards of the resource have gotten to know from our research and exploration of the sites, which make it special. The actors and the drama bring the site to life. Recently, The Wayside, a historic home in Minute Man National Historical Park, experienced the transformation of the story of Margaret Lothrop and her work to life, when it was featured by film studies students at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences.
The Wayside is listed as one of the sites in the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites. In 2014, Heather Huyck , who serves as the president of the NCWHS (formerly a National Park Service historian) approached the park about being one of 10 NPS sites to work with Film Professor, Jennifer Burton, of Tufts University ,her students and her Five Sisters film company to produce a series called "Half the History." The idea could not have come at a more fortuitous time as the Wayside was closed for restoration and the interpretation staff was beginning a review and renovation for programming, as well.
The project picked up speed in the last year, as the restoration of the Wayside neared completion. With mostly cosmetic finishes still to be completed, several onsite walk through meetings were held with the students and the filming was set for late April. Margaret Lothrop, daughter of Children's author and creator of the Five Little Peppers, Harriett Lothrop, would provide the voice for the project. It was she, who sought to ensure the history of its residents would not be forgotten and who sold the house to the National Park Service in 1962 to keep it in the public eye (or preserve it for future generations).
Four walk-through rehearsals were done during the day on Saturday, April 23. The next day, Sunday, April 24th started as an ideal day. The filming would be done in one long take by the cinematographer and her crew. Actors portraying Margaret Lothrop, Harriett Lothrop, Louisa May Alcott, Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne and others would walk throughout the rooms and discuss matters of great importance in their lives and the life of the house. The choreographed moves of actors, camera and crew tested the skills of all involved. By days end and several takes of the script, everyone felt exhausted and exhilarated by a job well done, now it would be up to the editor and post-production specialists.
Just days before graduation, the students, actors and park staff were invited to a viewing of a rough cut of the film. The ten minute movie gracefully brings Margaret Lothrop's vision to life through her own words and all in attendance felt the historic people and their story were well represented. The park plans to showcase the finished movie at the grand reopening of The Wayside on June 25th. More information on the project and film can be found at http://sites.tufts.edu/halfthehistory/.