At the beginning of 2016, the HEALD project moved to a dedicated National Gallery of Art development server from its previous home on an external host. This move gives HEALD direct technical support from the Gallery and better integration for its future release, the specifications of which are currently being drafted by the HEALD team in conjunction with the Gallery's technical services. The site's look and feel have been improved for better viewing on an array of devices, from desktop computers to tablets and mobile phones. Almost 200 content pages and 1,300 images have been added to the site to date, with more being added weekly.
The goal of the project is to provide a corpus of images and texts and a database of information about historic sites, images, and people that can be examined comparatively by scholars, enabling them to investigate designed landscapes in dynamic contexts and through materials that are in many cases rare and difficult to access. Because of the flexible nature of the digital format, scholars will be able to consider gardens and landscape as part of a larger set of processes—aesthetic, social, economic, and political—rather than as static sites. The electronic database will not only allow for the addition of new terms, images, and sources but, through search functions, will also permit the user to direct how the information is compiled, organized, and viewed.
Under the direction of Associate Dean Therese O’Malley, the project team is building digital entries for 100 keywords, 100 sites, and 100 people (artists, designers, site owners, and contemporary witnesses) relevant to the design and depiction of early American landscapes and gardens. The entry for each keyword, site, and person includes an authoritative essay and a bibliography, with primary source materials drawn from a corpus of more than two thousand digitized images (prints, drawings, and paintings from collections throughout the United States) and several thousand texts (including poetry, travel literature, legal documents, and correspondence). By providing scholars worldwide with open access to an extensive body of historically significant images and primary texts, the HEALD online archive will contribute significantly to research on the role and meaning of gardens and designed landscapes in colonial and antebellum America.
Postdoctoral Research Associate: Elizabeth Athens
Robert H. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate: Benjamin Zweig
Assistant to the Program of Research: Chelsea Cole