While completing the masters of landscape architecture program at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in cultural landscape studies, I learned of the Garden Club of Virginia and its incredible contributions to landscape preservation and restoration. When I discovered that GCV’s 2013 William D. Rieley Fellowship would provide an opportunity to research and document the Reynolds Homestead, a National Historic Landmark property, I knew that it would be a perfect segue from graduate school to the professional world. And so it was. In addition to exciting, independent field work at the Homestead and its surrounds, my fellowship involved genealogical studies, the research of legal records, the study of historic maps, a survey of slave cemeteries and plantations across the South, an assessment of archaeological resources, and the investigation of analogous vernacular gardens. All of this was conducted in a highly collaborative manner—with GCV providing amazing support—and the relationships I formed facilitated the next stage of my professional development. Upon completing my fellowship, presenting my findings, and submitting my report, I was offered a position in Washington, D.C. with The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a non-profit that promotes the study and stewardship of historic landscapes. My work with GCV taught me how to conduct research from a wide range of sources, to collaborate with diverse, multidisciplinary professionals, and to write about cultural landscapes with authority, objectivity, and an appreciation of connectivity across time, space, and people. These are skills that continue to be at the forefront of my professional work and I am indebted to the GCV for providing me such an enriching experience.
Matthew Traucht, 2013 Rieley Fellow
Reynolds Homestead, Critz