OLANA STATE HISTORIC SITE
Olana is the name that 19th century American artist and collector Frederic Church gave to the home that he built in a Moorish style high on a mountain top with a stunning view of the Hudson River Valley that Church and the other artists of that period made famous. It is far more than a house – although that is remarkable enough, with its eclectic turrets and striking views from all windows – because Church developed the entire property as a viewscape that has been preserved by the Olana Partnership, a not-for-profit foundation working with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Their operation of the house and grounds as a State Park has inevitably strained the capacity of both to sustain the level of visitor interest, and to meet the needs of visitors, the preservation of the historic site, and the care of the collection of paintings and artifacts associated with one of America's leading painters of the last century.
The two partner institutions commissioned outstanding New York architect Bart Voorsanger to design a Visitor Center that would accomplish much-needed orientation and exhibition functions outside the great house, and selected Lord Cultural Resources to develop the interpretative plan for the Center, to work with the architect on the programming for it, and to prepare an operational and business plan for this addition to the site. Our work enabled the consortium to see the need to continue to centralize storage and treatment of its collections at the facilities elsewhere of the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to phase the project, and to focus on long-range fund-raising, which is now underway.