Look for the debut of a new mobile visitor center this autumn!

For new and returning visitors alike, our amiable and ever resourceful visitor engagement staff create a sense of welcome and endless possibility to those seeking insight and guidance for their explorations. This fall, the launch of a made-to-order mobile visitor center in our landscape will begin an exciting new chapter in this outreach.

Visitor Engagement tent
Since summer 2020, our visitor engagement staff have greeted visitors and offered information from a pop-up visitor center tent set up at various Arboretum gates. Here Ana Eder-Mulhane welcomes a visiting family near the Walter Street Gate. Sheryl White

With the arrival COVID-19, health guidelines required closing the Hunnewell Visitor Center as a public health precaution. While we kept the Arboretum landscape open and welcoming, our visitor engagement staff transitioned to remote work last spring. By fall, staff members Carena Cremin, Ana Eder-Mulhane, and Regina Mission were back at the Arboretum, greeting visitors and offering assistance from a pop-up visitor engagement tent set up at a number of our gates in rotation. Moving around the Arboretum has enabled us to reach new visitors and connect more deeply with our neighboring communities.

While addressing pandemic safety needs, the tent has also helped us imagine how we can improve the sense of arrival and welcoming for visitors across our 281 acres. The autumn debut of a new mobile visitor center—funded by the generosity of a supporter of the Arboretum and its mission—offers us the opportunity to build on the tent’s success while providing more structure and versatility to our efforts.

The mobile visitor center will soon become a familiar resource in our landscape, but its portability will allow for a broader reach. We aim to bring this new way of connecting with the community outside our gates, participating in city-wide events and travelling to neighborhoods across Boston. It will spark new opportunities to continue our public mission and to promote the Arboretum as a community resource for connecting with the natural world.

As America’s oldest public arboretum and a vital link to nature in Boston, we cherish our long history of engaging thoughtfully and meaningfully with the public. While we’re eager for conditions to allow us to safely resume the tradition of welcoming visitors in the Hunnewell Building Visitor Center, we’re excited for the opportunities presented by the introduction of this new, mobile approach to connecting with the public. Look for us this fall throughout the landscape!

Join us for the launch and ribbon-cutting festivities!

The mobile visitor center will be at the intersection of Valley Road and Hemlock Hill Road on Friday, October 29, from 10am-2pm. (Due to weather, we will not bring out the mobile visitor center on Saturday, October 30, as well, as originally planned.)

On Friday, join us at 11:30am for a ribbon cutting with Arboretum leadership as well as local and elected officials. Following the ribbon-cutting, attendees and passersby of all ages will have an opportunity to participate in interactive activities including a guided tour with Keeper of the Living Collections Michael Dosmann and children’s activities such as scavenger hunts, leaf rubbings, and Wonder Spots.