Prospect Park: A Chancellor’s Day Professional Learning Event for Educators | Thursday, June 9

July 9, 2022, 9am EDT

Public parks are an essential part of life in urban areas. The Covid-19 pandemic illuminated just how important sites of nature, fresh air, and recreation are in crowded New York City. In Brooklyn, Prospect Park is often referred to as “Brooklyn’s backyard,” and the park has seen historic levels of usage in the past couple of years. This Chancellor’s Day, Brooklyn Public Library’s Center for Brooklyn History invites education professionals to experience the park’s history and natural splendor while reflecting on the ways Brooklyn’s backyard has evolved to meet the needs of a diverse public. First, we’ll hear from author Justin Martin, author of Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, about the origins of the park and the ideals that inspired its designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Then, we’ll be joined by Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson, President and Vice President of Turnstile Tours & Studio, who will lead attendees on a walking tour of some of Prospect Park’s fascinating landmarks and illuminate ways the park has changed since the time of Olmsted and Vaux. CBH educators will model lesson plans utilizing fascinating archival sources from our world-renowned collections. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of how public space changes over time, methods to incorporate primary source material into classroom settings, and the restorative feeling that comes with a day spent amongst the trees. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination and face masks are required. Attendees are eligible for 5 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credits.

This professional development workshop is presented by the Center for Brooklyn History of the Brooklyn Public Library, with support from the Prospect Park Alliance.

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OLMSTED 200: Parks in Conversation | Virtual Tour of Prospect Park and Central Park | Episode 269

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Join us for a special virtual tour in celebration of Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday that explores two of his New York City masterpieces—Central Park and Prospect Park. Built a decade apart, Central and Prospect Park share many similarities, but also reflect Olmsted’s evolution as a park designer and his lasting influence on landscape design and public space. Guides from Central Park Conservancy will be on site to highlight Central Park’s arches, meadows, and natural features, as Turnstile Tours guides examine parallel features in Prospect Park and compare and contrast the different elements of the parks, including examples of Olmsted designs that have been adapted to fit better with modern-day recreational uses and ecological practices. 

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Love in the Archives | Episode 261

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day as we share some of our favorite love stories from history from the places that we work. We will share long-distance love letters from World War II, milestone weddings in Prospect Park, workplace romances at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and people who found their loves in public markets. We will share artifacts, newspaper clippings, oral histories, and more from various archives, and we invite participants to share their own love stories and family histories in this Zoom meeting.

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A Staten Island Farmer’s Travels Abroad with Justin Martin | Episode 260

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Join the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a fascinating presentation by Justin Martin, author of Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. Justin will highlight Olmsted’s travels to England while he lived at Tosomock Farm on Staten Island, and his subsequent writings about these travels. Olmsted departed from Staten Island for a walking tour of England in April 1850, returned in October, and both wrote (1851) and published (1852) his observations in Walks and Talks of an American farmer in England while on Staten Island. Justin will discuss how these travels influenced Olmsted’s social thinking and landscape designs.

This program is offered in partnership with the Friends of the Olmsted-Beil House as part of the ongoing celebrations for Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday year, Olmsted 200.

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A Concrete History of Brooklyn | Episode 258

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Concrete is the world’s most ubiquitous building material, and many important milestones of its development took place in Brooklyn. In this virtual program, we will examine concrete’s history, production, and chemistry, then discuss some of the landmark structures that drove the development of steel-reinforced concrete in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From Gowanus to DUMBO, Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we will look at monumental buildings and small details designed by some renowned architects, including Cass Gilbert, Albert Kahn, and Calvert Vaux.

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Calvert Vaux: Architect for the People | Episode 257

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Though often overlooked due to his association with Frederick Law Olmsted, Calvert Vaux is an important figure in American architecture in his own right. A classically-trained architect, talented artist, and collaborator with landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing, he had already done major projects before working with Olmsted on Central Park, and would continue to design parks and public buildings after their partnership dissolved. To mark Vaux’ 197th birthday, we will examine his 40-year career in New York City, his distinctive architectural style, and his legacy of designing buildings and landscapes for the public good, including museums, parks both large and small, and housing for the poor.

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We Are At a Moment That Will Be Remembered … with Emily Oliveira | Free Virtual Program | POSTPONED

This program has been postponed. Please stay tuned for a new date in 2022.

There is a new, colorful, monumental artwork in Prospect Park—We Are At a Moment That Will Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Great Change, For Who Can Say When a Wall Is Ready To Come Down by Emily Oliveira now fills the Lena Horne Bandshell. Commissioned by BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with NYC Parks, the mural depicts figures working collectively to dismantle a wall, framed by swirling cosmos. In this virtual program, we will join Emily from her studio in New Haven, as well as BRIC Curator Jenny Gerow, as they discuss her work, her creative process, and the art and artists that inspired this piece, including Mexican muralism—particularly José Clemente Orozco’s Prometheus—science fiction, and the murals of the Works Progress Administration, which built the Bandshell in 1941. The virtual program is presented with support from BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance.

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Olmsted, Public Health, and Urban Planning with Olmsted-Beil House | Episode 244

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Join Turnstile Tours and the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a virtual panel discussion to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Frederick Law Olmsted’s report for the Staten Island Improvement Commission, a comprehensive plan for the island’s growth and development. We will hear unique perspectives about Staten Island in the late 1800s, Olmsted’s public health recommendations, and his legacy in the greenest borough of New York City. The panel will include Prof. Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Director of Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture; Jessica Kratz of the Staten Island Greenbelt Nature Center; naturalist Ed Johnson, emeritus curator of science at the Staten Island Museum; and moderated by Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours.

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Climate Change Conversation with Prospect Park Alliance Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein | Episode 242

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Join the conversation during Climate Week NYC with Prospect Park Alliance‘s Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein. Howard will share insights on the unique challenges the part faces as the borough’s only forest, and what impact climate change is having the composition of the forest, the biodiversity that it supports, and the pests that threaten its health in the short- and long-term future.

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Battle of Brooklyn: Revolutionary War Sites of Prospect Park | Episode 238

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To celebrate Brooklyn Battle Week, take a virtual walk through Prospect Park and follow the battle lines of the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War. We will see see where American forces tried unsuccessfully to stop the British advance at Battle Pass, follow the path some used to escape to join the main battle in Gowanus, and visit the many Revolutionary War monuments in the park, including Daniel Chester French’s sculpture to the Marquis de Lafayette and Stanford White’s memorial to the 1st Maryland Regiment.

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