Hands-On With School History


Nicholas Lorentzen ’20

Yuka Masamura ’21 examines a tree branch in the exhibit.

The Forest, Field & Water: A History of the Hotchkiss Landscape exhibit in the Tremaine Gallery weaves together mineral pieces from 1.2 million years ago with more contemporaneous campus artifacts to explore the geographical history of Hotchkiss’ surrounding environment.

The exhibit presents artistic, geographical, and ecological relics from the Salisbury and Lakeville areas in chronological order. Walking along the four walls, visitors can see, for instance, a variety of minerals, pictures of local Native American communities, and wooden agricultural tools. In the middle, soil samples from Lake Wononscopomuc are set side-by-side with pictures of the School’s landscape by Thomas Blagden ’69. Local museums, current faculty members, and alumni all contributed pieces.

The exhibit, along with a series of nature-related activities, is intended to enrich the community’s knowledge about the history of the landscape of Lakeville. Mrs. Rosemary Davis, the curator of the exhibit, said, “So much of the time we focus on the architecture and the people here, but we hope to encourage students to take a different perspective and look at the physical aspect of our school.”

A bird walk with the Nature Conservancy and a poetry reading led by Ms. Susan Kinsolving, poet-in-residence and instructor in English, and her creative writing students accompanied the exhibit. Gill Duquette ’19, who participated in the poetry reading last Tuesday, said, “The exhibit is fantastic. It really connects to the area around Hotchkiss specifically; it even has part of the trunk from the old Elm tree by the library that died!” Duquette’s poetry reading included works by Mary Oliver and Emily Dickinson, whose poems resonate with the autumn-themed photos in the exhibit.

Ms. Joan Baldwin, curator of special collections and organizer of the event, said, “I think a lot of students assume The Tremaine isn’t for them. It’s too arty, … they’re too busy. I hope Forest, Field & Water is a bit different because it’s about the school campus. It’s about where we all live and work.” Offering a unique take on the physical space in which the school exists, the gallery’s current exhibit encourages students to reflect on their life within the ecology and geography of Lakeville.