Planting Fields has had a splendid year. Even in the late fall and early winter, the park continues to be magnificent, in its many foliage colors. At Coe Hall three newly re-furnished interiors, including Mr. Coe’s bedroom, opened this summer for the first time, and have been enjoyed by even more visitors than we had in the house last year. We write to ask you to generously support all that we do to make this great historic park and the mansion ever more beautiful and to preserve its uniqueness for generations to come.
We opened this season in April with an exciting new exhibition, “Great Ocean Liners: 1900-1940”, which explores W.R. Coe’s marine insurance business in which he insured the hull of the “Titanic”. He was chairman of Johnson & Higgins, one of the largest insurance firms in the world. The show included marvelous ship models and rare historic materials preserved here in the Foundation’s archives. In this way, we were able to bring the era of glamorous ocean liners alive, and we took the opportunity to discuss the history of European immigration to the U.S. one hundred years ago. The show attracted a large number of first-time visitors to Coe Hall, and many returned a second time. We held special programs for children, including some to make model ships, which were fully booked.
Building family audiences for events is a focus of all our programming initiatives. This year for the first time we celebrated the Chinese New Year over a weekend in February, attracting over a thousand visitors each day. We mounted a special exhibition on the second floor of Coe Hall of some of the Foundation’s rare Chinese carved jades from the eighteenth century. There were performances of traditional music along with dragon and lion dances. We are continuing these weekend events, of which we now have nine throughout the year, including our Summer Garden Festival, also new this year.
On behalf of the Foundation’s trustees we ask you to give generously to this Annual Appeal. We rely on your support and hope that you will soon visit Planting Fields to enjoy its glorious park, its stunning greenhouses, and the great mansion.