Re-printed from: http://feldmansurveyors.com/the-curley-house/
Recently, Mayor Martin J. Walsh made headlines by bringing James Michael Curley’s mahogany desk back to Boston City Hall after at least a three-decade hiatus. With the legendary antique again serving as the centerpiece of the mayor’s office, Walsh told the Boston Globe, “It’s about history. When you look in the office here, nothing is really historic.”
Walsh’s assessment can’t be argued, especially when the hand-carved craftsmanship of Curley’s desk is viewed in sharp contrast to the concrete modernism of City Hall. And so with the mayor’s office paving the way, Boston is fast becoming a city known as much for its education and innovation as its conservation and preservation.
Right in line with Walsh’s ethos, Wentworth Institute of Technology Humanities professors, Christopher Gleason and Jody Gordon, have surely set the educational bar higher by incorporating cutting-edge technology and non-destructive digital archiving of historical data in their new course Digital Approaches to Boston Culture: Curating the Legacy of Mayor James M. Curley. The course is part of a new approach to college education being pioneered at Wentworth called EPIC Learning, which stands for Externally-collaborative, Project-based, Interdisciplinary Curricula for Learning www.wit.edu/epic-learning.
While developing the course that’s aimed at archiving and creating a virtual museum of Curley’s life, the two professors reached out to Feldman Land Surveyors to see if the Curley house would qualify for the company’s Scanning Historic Boston series.
In no time at all, Feldman—a third generation family-owned Boston firm—was on board with the program and conducting a pro-bono 3D laser scan of the famous house with the shamrock shutters. And with the amazing images already collected, curators, historians, students, local residents and even politicians are getting more and more interested in properly preserving the Curley house for future generations.
With educational opportunities and better stewardship of architectural treasures the byproducts of their work, it appears the surveyors at Feldman are just getting started scanning a city that’s always had their vote!
3D Shamrocks: Laser Scanning the James Michael Curley House
For anyone familiar with Boston’s larger-than-life, four-time mayor James Michael Curley, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that in 2014 he’s still managing to unite people to do great things for their city. In this case, Boston Globe correspondent John Dyer set off a grand chain of events back in January when he wrote about Feldman Land Surveyors’ pro-bono work in his article, 3D Scans Add a New Dimension to Preservation.
The article sparked the imaginations of Christopher Gleason and Jody Gordon, both humanities professors at Wentworth Institute of Technology. The two were so inspired by Dyer’s words that they contacted Feldman Land Surveyors with a unique and interesting question. Would the James Michael Curley house qualify as a subject for Feldman’s Scanning Historic Boston program?
Gleason and Gordon, who were about to instruct a new course focusing on digitally archiving and curating Curley’s life, realized a non-destructive 3D laser scan of the mayor’s house would be a fascinating addition to their collaborative collection and assembly of relevant data. No to mention that any virtual museum of the Curley’s life simply had to include the shamrock-shuttered house he called home for more than forty years.
Once their request reached Feldman’s offices, the rest—as they say—is history.
Michael Feldman, the firm’s CEO and third generation president, saw the potential in the Curley project right away. “Feldman’s pro-bono work isn’t about merely collecting data. It’s about keeping Boston’s architectural treasures alive. So when our laser scans and the technology we use to collect them can be used in an educational setting, it matches the reason we started Scanning Historic Boston in the first place.”
Somewhere the spirit of James Michael Curley must be smiling down on this campaign, as well as working on a speech to fan all the renewed interest in his house with the 3D shamrocks!
Pro-bono 3D laser scan of “350 The Jamaicaway” courtesy of Feldman Land Surveyors:
Please scroll down to view still images taken from the 3D interactive digital model.