Mass. Historical Society Celebrates Landscape Architect Arthur Shurcliff

massThe Massachusetts Historical Society will celebrate the legacy of one-time Beacon Hill resident Arthur Shurcliff on March 18 as the final installment of its series honoring prominent landscape architects.

At that time, Elizabeth Hope Cushing, Ph.D., author of a newly published book about Shurcliff based on her doctoral dissertation for the American and New England studies program at Boston University, will be the guest speaker.

Her lecture will focus on Shurcliff’s Colonial Williamsburg, which began in 1928 and went on to become regarded as one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape. The project eventually stretched into the 1940s to include town and highway planning, as well as residential and institutional gardens.

An 1894 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Shurcliff also studied at Harvard University, where his mentor, Charles Eliot, helped him piece together a program in the art history department, the Lawrence Scientific School and the Bussey Institute. After earning a second bachelor’s degree from Harvard, he worked in Frederick Law Olmsted’s office for eight years, acquiring a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the profession.

Shurcliff opened his own practice in 1904, with an emphasis on his expertise in town planning. Two decades later, when he was hired as chief landscape architect at Colonial Williamsburg, he was a seasoned professional whose commissions included his Boston work, campus design, town planning, and a robust practice in private domestic design.

The lecture will take place at the Massachusetts Historical Society, located at 1154 Boylston St., on Wednesday, March 18, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The cost is $10 for general admission and free for members of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. Registration is required, so visit to R.S.V.P.

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