Last June a six-day conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies was held in Montreal bringing together more than 600 representatives from more than 50 countries. Their conclusion? That heritage helps build strong communities. To quote the event’s organizer: “Heritage creates value. Heritage creates belonging.” I couldn’t help but see Greenwood’s fantastic year again and again in the lens of this observation.
While the act (and art) of working to preserve Greenwood’s venerable historical building and contents is an ongoing labour of love for all of us, in this first year of being executive director, I also saw first-hand how Greenwood is even more than the sum of its physical parts.
From all the events of last summer's season, such as the Greenwood Singers concert, Traditional Tea, Fine Dining and Theatre on the Lawn, to the larger events of Treasures in the Attic and StoryFest 2016, it was a community coming together that truly made these events sparkle—and shine. From Greenwood’s talented (and tireless) volunteers to our growing membership base to the other communities within Hudson who partner with us, our hugely successful 2016 season was a real example of the fact that Greenwood’s community extends far beyond its admittedly beautiful spot on the Lake of Two Mountains.
There was real vision in Phoebe Nobbs Hyde when she pictured her beautiful home and property in the service of the community--a vision that was honoured and enhanced by Bill Young, Donna Seaman and many others over the years since 1996 as a once private home increasingly became a place of heritage available to the public. During her eight years as executive director, Audrey Wall built on this vision even further, and as Greenwood’s 20th anniversary as a place for living history can attest, the role of Greenwood in Hudson, and the whole region, has flowered.
If heritage can create value and a sense of belonging, and even “build strong communities” as last summer’s conference declared, I’d say Greenwood is well on its way to a brilliant 2017 season—and beyond!
We look forward to welcoming you!
Terry O’Shaughnessy, Executive Director