Commemorating Walt Whitman’s 191st Birthday


Walt-Whitman-Wall Yesterday, May 31st, commemorated Walt Whitman’s 191st birthday. His modest birth-home, a farmhouse,  is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our design of the adjacent interpretative center was conceived to shelter the farmhouse and visitor experience from the bustle of twenty-first century Long Island; the natural and built environments are joined with the presentation of cultural history through a curving cedar wall time-line that starts within the exhibit space and leads across the grounds to a point directly in front of the house where Walt Whitman was born. The Interpretive Center brings together several design aspects that have characterized the work of elemental – environmentally sensitive, energy efficient architecture. The use of passive solar gain and thermal storage, and gravity ventilation — both characteristics of nineteenth century vernacular building design — can be seen in the large, south facing windows of Whitman’s house.  Similar features have been incorporated into the Interpretive Center. Walt-Whitman-Vistors-Center The new facility serves three interpretive functions: the building is a gateway from the modern world to the historic site; it includes the exhibit space which encourages the visitor to experience Whitman’s life, writings, and philosophy in an environment that reflects the poet’s lifelong concern with the interrelationship between humankind and nature, and in full sight of the birthplace building. Once the visitor has passed through the gateway onto the historic site, the building and the extended cedar wall establish a peaceful precinct, shielding the view of cars, trucks, signs and neon lights. Walt-Whitman-Grounds Walt-Whitman To learn more about the Birthplace Association,