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COLLECTION Identifier: I A-4 MP

Master planning records


  • Creation: 1976-


General Physical Description note

(11 boxes)

Terms of Access

Researchers seeking to examine archival materials are strongly encouraged to make an appointment. The Director, or an office of origin, may place restrictions on the use of some or all of its records. The extent and length of the restriction will be determined by the Director, office of origin, and the Archivist and will be enforced equally for all researchers.

Terms of Use

The copyright is held by The President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the original author or the author's heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from the holder(s) of copyright and the Arnold Arboretum Archives prior to publishing any quotations or images from materials in this collection.

Photocopies may be made at the discretion of the Arnold Arboretum Archives staff. Permission to make photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce or publish materials outside the bounds of the fair use guidelines.


4 linear feet

Historical note

Although there is one document authored by Richard A. Howard in 1976 entitled ‘Goals for the Arnold Arboretum” the term Master Planning was not applied until the 1990s. Beginning in 1978 with the directorship of Peter Shaw Ashton (1978-1989) the Arboretum began to develop long range plans in a formal manner. The Feasibility Study undertaken in 1979 was the first concerted attempt to engage the staff in the process. Dr. Ashton used the Feasibility Study document to seek financial support for many of the suggestions it contained by applying for grants from various institutions. In addition, Dr. Ashton turned his attention to the public, or amenity, aspects of the intuition and sought financial and intellectual support from the City of Boston, Harvard University and various granting agencies. Dr. Ashton expanded the planning process to include professional consultants and worked with the University to engage the services of the Environmental Planning and Design Partnership and other consultants including Rousmaniere Management Associates and Berenson & Isham. Lydia Kowalski served from 1985 to 1988 as the only Executive Director in the history of the Arnold Arboretum. Kowalski was appointed to the newly created post by Peter Ashton and oversaw much of the planning process during 1987 and 1988.

With the appointment of Robert Cook as director in 1988, institutional planning continued with a Planning Advisory Group which was established in August 1989. Also in August, under Richard Schulhof, the Arboretum staff was invited to engage in a brainstorming session for the development of a comprehensive plan for the Arboretum. Planning then proceeded with two committees established and functioning under the oversight of Richard Schulhof; one addressed the long-term goals of the Living Collection, the other focused on goals for the institution’s Public Programs. The Living Collections Committee produced: "Plants for the Twenty-First Century: A Long-Range Plan."

In 1991, at the conclusion of the staff planning process, Sasaki Associates, Inc. was hired to provide “Planning services for selected projects within the 265-acre tract comprising the Arnold Arboretum and its immediate environs.” The initial scope of work included: a historic landscape assessment, a site inventory, design studies, and community meetings. The general goals of the Master Plan included: to establish how the Arnold Arboretum could better manage its public edges and entrances; to determine how the Arboretum’s adjacent land parcels could serve its mission; and to assess how education and visitor services could be improved through creation of a new facility. Sasaki Associates was engaged from December 1991 until Spring 1994.

Between 2000 and 2002, the administration and staff undertook an effort to create a 25-year strategic plan under Director Robert Cook. In February of 2001, Robert Cook assembled a planning committee which consisted of representatives from every department. In collaboration with the Technical Development Corporation (TDC), this committee reviewed the Arboretum's mission and organizational structure to help create both departmental and institution-wide goals for the Arboretum's next 25 years. Planning continued, often department by department, on a regular basis as new opportunities and challenges presented themselves.

In the 1990s, the Arboretum began planning for a new research facility to be built on Weld Hill (formerly known as the Weld/Water Street Tract and later Puddingstone Hill). This triggered the necessity to create an Intuitional Master Plan for submission to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. For records related to this process please see I A-4 IMP: Institutional Master Plan.

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged in five series. Series I: 1976-1988; Series II: 1989-1991; Series III: 1991-1999; Series IV: 2000-2002; Series V: 2004- .


The majority of the collection was transferred from the Arnold Arboretum’s departmental holdings to the Arboretum’s Archives as the planning process concluded. Documents created earlier than 1984 were transferred in 1984 when the Archive was created.

Related Archival Materials note

I A-4 IMP: Institutional Master Plan

Processing Information note

Processed by Sheila Connor

Master planning records : Guide.
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Arnold Arboretum Archives Repository

The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is a specialized collection devoted to the study of temperate woody plants. We collect works on botany, horticulture, floras, urban forestry and taxonomy. The library contains more than 25,000 volumes and 40,000 photographs, and includes an archive that both documents the Arboretum's history and is a repository for 19th, 20th, and 21st century horticultural and botanical collections.

125 Arborway
Jamaica Plain MA 02130 USA