Charlotte Blake Alston
Take a Powerful Journey
Embark on a beautifully poignant journey with storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston as she honors and celebrates the strength, resilience, and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture and the power of story. Through a series of 10 stops—experienced in-person throughout the Gardens via your phone or virtually from home—surround yourself in her moving spoken word and the stillness around you.
Hear an ancient Zulu creation myth paired with the oldest plant on Earth in the Conservatory; make your way to the Lookout Loft Treehouse and lean in to the story of the significance and symbolism of woods and meadows; call out the name of an ancestor in remembrance at the Large Lake while a traditional spiritual soothes your soul; and much more. Scroll down to discover Charlotte’s powerful voice as she leads you through the landscape, ending with a bonus track exclusive for our virtual guests.
When experiencing the exhibition in the Gardens, we recommend using headphones when listening to the audio files via your phone. Before your visit, please make sure your phone is charged. Once you’re in the Gardens, connect to FreeGardenWifi, turn on location services, and connect to our mobile map to navigate the experience. Please note, some pathways may be closed should inclement weather occur.
Voices in the Landscape is an Accessible Experience
The exhibition features a total of 10 audio experiences associated with specific locations throughout the Gardens, including seven outdoor stops and three stops in the Conservatory. The entire route is accessible without stairs and the length of the route, including the stops in the Conservatory, is about 1.5 miles. Voices in the Landscape signage is at each stop. Each audio recording ranges between three and eight minutes in length. Look for signs in the Gardens to find the restroom location nearest to you. All restrooms are available except for the Visitor Center restrooms. The estimated time to experience the entire Voices in the Landscape exhibit is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
—Accessible Exhibition Guide
This guide provides important information for people who are blind/low vision and/or experiencing hearing loss, so they can fully participate in and enjoy this Voices in the Landscape program.
This guide provides an overview of the experience of visiting Longwood Gardens so that guests can prepare or practice strategies for their visit.
Audio files with introductory audio descriptions of each location are available below and on our mobile map. Nicole Sardella voices the audio descriptions. The audio descriptions use words to describe the landscape and plants of Longwood associated with Charlotte’s stories. Each audio description is given based on the location of the sign in the Gardens.
Thank you to our accessibility partner, Art-Reach.
Now–March 21, 2021 Gardens Open 10:00 am–5:00 pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Please note: All Membership levels, except Gardens Premium Members, must make reservations at this time. Timed Admission Tickets are required.
Embark on your journey and enjoy this experience, anytime and anywhere, via the audio files below.
Watch Charlotte Blake Alston lead a recent webinar that takes an exciting look at the life and work of George Washington Carver. Explore Carver’s many achievements and how his impact continues to influence and affect us today. Find inspiration for your own horticultural activities with extension activities that encourage observation and experimentation. The webinar is designed for students in grades 2 through 6 and their families.
Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted with Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston texts by Charlotte Blake Alston, Copyright © Charlotte Blake Alston, January 2021
Photos: Images of Frederick Douglass and George Washington Carver courtesy of Library of Congress. Photo of Charlotte Blake Alston by Deborah Boardman. Voices in the Landscape location photography by Hank Davis. Meetinghouse photo courtesy of the Chester County Historical Society.