The Cultural Landscape Foundation has launched a database of “Cultural Landscapes” and it’s called What’s Out There. Currently there are over 380 notations in the database with more to be added over time. It’s available at http://www.tclf.org/landscapes.
Which is all very nice but what the heck is a cultural landscape? The site describes cultural landscapes like this, that they: “Provide a sense of place and identity; they map our relationship with the land over time; and they are part of our national heritage and each of our lives.” I saw a variety of places listed in this database, including buildings, parks, farms, and even cemeteries.
When I first went to the site I was confused because while there was a link to do an advanced search and a simple keyword search on the front page, I didn’t see a place to browse what was listed. Turns out there’s a browsable listing on the advanced search page. You can do an advanced search for finding locations by state, landscape style, region, design type, and more. The listings are shown in a table with columns for landscape title, designed firm, landscape type, and landscape style.
I decided to look at cultural landscapes in Indiana. I got five results: two cemeteries, a public park, a garden, and the grounds of an institution. You can click on the title of the landscape for more information but what you get will vary a lot. For example, you might want to look at the Miller Garden. You’ll get facts about the landscape (type, who designed it, a pointer to a map and so forth.) You will get a photo and a link to more photos. You will get related content about the Miller Garden from other parts of the site. However, you won’t get a capsule summary of the landmark as you might for other landmarks. In the case of the Lindenwood cemetery, you will only get the most basic information with not even a photograph. For an example of a site that does have a writeup, check out Ohio’s Alms Park.
I’m afraid I still don’t have a good hold on what a cultural landscape is but this site is fun to browse, with a number of different categories and places all over the country. It’d be excellent if each site’s listing could link to a Flickr search; I’d love to see more views of the Miller Garden.