“Cultural Landscape” Database will tell you What’s Out There

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

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.

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