The Josiah Henson Historic Park is a 1.4-acre park that honors the life of the enslaved man who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Once part of the Riley Plantation, the Riley/Bolton House, is the historic centerpiece of the site. The log kitchen, built-in 1850, is the “cabin” in which Uncle Tom was said to reside. M-NCPPC’s goal for the project was to provide a respectful and functional park that tells the story of Reverend Josiah Henson’s resilience and perseverance.
The design team of architects, engineers, and exhibit designers worked closely with Floura Teeter to create a landscape of restraint – striking a balance between telling the important story of the site as it may have been during Henson’s life and working around ongoing archaeological digs.
Floura Teeter provided tree assessment, protection, and forest conservation work for the project which included preserving two County Champion trees. The landscape design minimized grading to carefully incorporate the trees and to safeguard additional unfound artifacts.
I visited the museum with my two daughters, and I just cannot comment enough on how important the landscape design was as part of the whole experience. The landscape was the connector between the two buildings but also an important relief from the purposely intense experiences found inside. Loved sitting on the log benches and looking over the beautiful landscape that was also surprisingly secluded from the busy street.Miharu Morimoto AIA, Senior Associate, Ziger|Snead Architects