Olmsted's Therapeutic Landscape Tour
Length: 90 minutes
Untouched Buildings Accessed: 1
Discover Frederick Law Olmsted’s therapeutic vision for the parkland surrounding the former Buffalo State Asylum, now known as the Richardson Olmsted Campus.
From its beginnings in the 1800s, the Asylum transformed the treatment of people with mental illness by focusing on gardens, farming, and fresh air. Today, the Richardson is one of the largest historic preservation projects in the nation and its landscape is being renewed for a new generation of visitors.
Starting on the 9-acre South Lawn — a reimagined version of the therapeutic landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux -- you’ll learn how this meticulously-planned natural setting helped heal people with mental illness for more than a century and how it is helping to revitalize an urban neighborhood today.
Your knowledgeable docent will then take you back to the days when a bustling, working farm occupied nearly 100 acres on-site. Patients engaged in “landscape-therapy,” helping to raise livestock, grow crops, milk cows, and tend fruit orchards and greenhouse flowers. Not only did their work improve their own mental health, it also supported a largely self-sufficient institution.
- Ages 16 and up. (Join our mailing list to be notified of youth programming in future seasons.)
- Photography is allowed outside the Richardson. For those interested in taking photographs inside the historical buildings, please check out our photography tours.
- This is an EXTERIOR tour that also includes interior access to the kitchen.
- Hard hats will be provided. It is imperative that you stay with the tour group in the designated areas – there are very unsafe areas within the Richardson buildings and grounds.
- For your safety, sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. We reserve the right to turn away anyone without appropriate shoes. Under no condition will sandals or high heels be allowed.
- We encourage all guests to bring water, particularly if it is a hot day.
- Tours are rain or shine.