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Superintendent Of Wilton's Weir Farm Earns Top Park Service Award

Linda Cook, superintendent of Weir Farm National Historic Site, with Charles Burlingham, grandson of painter J. Alden Weir. Photo Credit: Contributed
Superintendent Linda Cook welcomes family members and dignitaries to the official opening of the Weir House in May 2014. Photo Credit: Contributed
Superintendent Linda Cook prepares to hang 'Spring Landscape,' the first painting in the restored Weir House. Photo Credit: Contributed

RIDGEFIELD/WILTON, Conn. — Linda Cook, superintendent at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield and Wilton, has been honored with a top award from the National Park Service. 

Cook has earned the Appleman-Judd-Lewis Award for Excellence in Cultural Resource Stewardship. The prestigious award is given annually to just three of the more than 20,000 National Park Service employees nationwide.

Cook was recognized for her leadership in restoring the Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio at the park, the home of Impressionist painter J. Alden Weir.

“This award represents the hard work and dedication of over 300 people, including many local experts and businesses,” says Cook, who lives with her family in Bethel. “We are very grateful for the 'staying power' of so many professionals over the years to complete such a complex project on time and within budget.” 

For nearly a decade, she spearheaded the complex, multimillion-dollar restoration project at the national park. This monumental project included the restoration of the exteriors and interiors of all three buildings as well as the addition of a state-of-the-art security system, fire detection and suppression systems, and an update of all electric, heat, and plumbing. 

Additionally, hundreds of historic furnishings and objects were carefully conserved and meticulously installed. To accomplish this, Cook worked with a small team of park staff to manage dozens of contractors, subcontractors, local service providers, and technical experts from across the National Park Service. 

Due to her efforts, the Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio opened to the public fully restored and historically furnished in May 2014. The restoration work completed under Cook's management, has received much acclaim and praise. The accessible path and ramp leading into the Weir House recently won a National Accessibility Award for Architectural Design. 

Beyond the restoration project, Cook has been a lifelong champion for cultural resource stewardship and education. She holds a master's degree in architectural preservation from Columbia University and has dedicated her professional life to the preservation, protection, and promotion of cultural resources in the National Park Service. 

The Appleman-Judd-Lewis Award was established in 1970 to honor Roy E. Appleman, a longtime National Park Service historian. In 1979, Henry A. Judd's name was added, as was Ralph H. Lewis' name in 2006 to honor their contributions to the Park Service.

For more information about Weir Farm National Historic Site, the home of three generations of artists, visit its website. The park's buildings reopen to the public in spring.

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