About the Entrusting the Commons Photography Project

What makes Hadley special? What elements of Hadley’s present have withstood the test of time? What is the future of Hadley’s heritage and cultural landscape? This community photography project explores these themes through digital photography and public discussions, culminating in a public exhibit.


It is commonly believed that historic rural landscapes are in danger of disappearing in the face of modern development pressures. In 2010 the World Monuments Fund listed Hadley’s cultural landscape on their endangered sites list. Yet, a strong community ethic thrives in Hadley, one that values Hadley’s landscapes, livelihoods, and heritage, and that supports preservation efforts.This project taps into this community ethic to facilitate the identification of important features of Hadley’s heritage and landscape and the discussion of their significance to the greater community. Normally, “experts” are brought in to identify what heritage resources should be prioritized for protection. This project recognizes that expertise resides in the local community, and seeks to share this knowledge with local policymakers and planners through public exhibitions and subsequent publications.


How it works

During October and November 2011, a group of volunteer photographers took photographs throughout Hadley, following a set of documentary prompts that explore the themes of heritage, public/private space, memory, and time. These photos are viewable on this website, and are organized by prompt. 


During December 2011, the photographs were shown during public forums, in which participants shared their thoughts on the photographs and their themes. These forums were transcribed and will inform the photo exhibits. 


During Spring - Summer 2012, public exhibits of the photos and select material from the forums will be displayed in town to recognize the variety of views Hadley community members have of their cultural landscape, and to promote the range of heritage values documented during the project. 


Photo Exhibits

View a selection of the photographs in person: March 2 - April 28, 2012, at the Goodwin Memorial Library in Hadley, Massachusetts (50 Middle St.). An opening reception will be held Friday, March 2, 5:30 - 7:00 PM. All are welcome to attend!


Funding & Support

This project is funded by a Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant.


Many thanks are owed to a wide range of organizations and individuals who have generously supported this project including: 

  • Hadley Conservation Commission, especially Janice Stone and Alexandra Dawson, the latter whose spirit and tenacity are fondly remembered
  • Hadley Council on Aging, especially Jane Booth
  • Hadley Historical Commission, especially Dr. Marla Miller & Claire Carlson
  • Hadley Parks & Recreation Department, especially Cathy Zatyrka
  • Hadley Town Administrator David Nixon
  • Hadley Selectboard, especially David Moskin
  • Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, especially Susan Lisk
  • The Goodwin Memorial Library
  • UMass Center for Heritage & Society
  • The volunteer photographers! Eli Catlin, Kelly Erwin, India Meyer, Emily Remer, Jesse Shotland, Janice Stone, Debbie Windoloski
  • North Star Academy staff
  • The many staff members who work at the Hadley Town Hall
  • UMass faculty including: Elizabeth Chilton (Anthropology), David Glassberg (History), Krista Harper (Anthropology), Martin Wobst (Anthropology), & Neil Silberman (Anthropology) 
  • UMass PhD candidate, Valerie Joseph (Anthropology)