Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation (DHA)

Cultural Landscape Preservation Resource Assistant  -  Boston, MA

The LHIP intern will serve as a member of a team working to prepare the “Cultural Landscape Report for Johnstown Flood National Memorial.” Located in Cambria County in Western Pennsylvania, the 178-acre park preserves the remains of the South Fork Dam and an enormous drained lake bed as a memorial to the thousands who died in the Johnstown Flood. On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam broke unleashing 20 million tons of water that rushed through the community of Johnstown and killed 2209 people. At the time the disaster was the most deadly ever on American soil. It decimated four square miles of Johnstown, a middle-class community of immigrant steelworkers. The tragedy precipitated a national relief effort and was the first major test in peacetime for Clara Barton’s newly formed American Red Cross. The leadership of Clara Barton and other women in the relief efforts following the disaster contributed to the growing national philanthropic movement.

The story captured in the Cultural Landscape Report will explore the themes of engineering design, industrial and transportation history, social progressive movements, and memorialization. The Cultural Landscape Report will document the physical history of this important landscape, exploring the anatomy of the dam’s design and construction and the reasons behind its ultimate collapse. It will also address the aftermath of the disaster and its significance to our nation’s history. The LHIP intern will help provide the park with the documentation needed to guide long-term stewardship of the park’s cultural landscape. In this capacity, the intern will work closely with experienced staff at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation to prepare maps documenting the historic landscape through GIS and the Adobe Suite, and to analyze surviving landscape characteristics and features through fieldwork and research.

Lastly, the intern will also provide weekly summaries of work activities on the “Designing the Parks” program blog and present findings and a summary of the assistantship experience through a final presentation and report.


The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Interest or experience with landscape architecture, historic preservation, American history, or cultural geography
  • Interest in learning or improving skills in cultural landscape management, including graphics mapping
  • Ability to communicate and write effectively
  • Ability to work as a team member
  • Experience with working or a willingness to work in a multicultural environment where diversity and inclusion are institutional values


Federal housing is not available. The intern will receive a housing stipend to accommodations in the area (within the budget limit).

About The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation:

The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation strengthens the capacity of parks and historic properties to manage cultural landscapes as part of our national heritage. Working in partnership with national parks, universities, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, the Olmsted Center provides a full range of technical assistance in cultural landscape research, planning, stewardship, and education. Founded at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, the Olmsted Center perpetuates the traditions of the Olmsted Offices and Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.'s lifelong commitment to people, parks, and public spaces. For more information, visit: http://www.nps.gov/oclp/index.htm