Themes provide an interpretive framework through which to share the region’s stories, connecting communities through a common narrative. The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area interpretive framework is outline in three nationally significant interpretive themes that are embodied in the region’s landscape and history.
An intricate network of rivers, wetlands, lakes, kettle ponds, meadows, forests, drumlins, eskers, and monadnocks combined with climate to determine how land was used, inspiring conservation of natural and scenic resources and providing economic and recreational opportunities.
While the land has changed with the imprint of settlement, it is the region’s natural features, including the landforms and rivers, that most clearly define how and where it was settled and how and why it has both inspired and been preserved by consecutive generations.
INVENTING THE NEW ENGLAND COMMUNITY
Early settlers established regionally interdependent inland communities distinct from Boston with democratic governments, institutions, town centers, transportation networks, industries and agricultural practices reinforcing the region’s identity and sense of place.
The interplay of nature and settlement within the heritage area led to the creation of the New England landscape which was shaped by concepts of the common good, man’s triumph over and eventual reliance upon nature and the manner through which land was managed to support communal enterprise.
REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS: VISIONARIES & EXPERIMENTERS
Since before the founding of the nation, people within Freedom’s Way Heritage Area have been at the forefront of social, intellectual and cultural innovation; inspired by religious and philosophical convictions, democratic principles, a drive for self-improvement and rapid industrialization they created new ideas about relationships to both society and the natural world.
Social, intellectual and cultural ideas within the heritage shaped new ways of thinking about the rights of individuals as well as their role within society and relationship to the natural world.