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Western Pennsylvania Conservancy



Fallingwater as a Cultural Centerpiece

Marlene McCann became a Fallingwater volunteer this year because, as she put it, “When
you have the time to volunteer, you want to be at a place that makes you feel good about what you’re doing, teaches you something you didn’t know and is fun. Fallingwater is all of that.”

Marlene worked in Washington, D.C. for many years before settling in Fayette County where she and her husband could live nearer to their mothers. She contrasts Fallingwater to the monuments in our nation’s capitol. “The Conservancy could have taken the Frank Lloyd Wright house and presented it as just another tourist attraction. Instead, they’ve turned it into a learning environment, where you can hear lectures, see exhibitions and engage students in wonderful activities.”

Facilities like the Barn at Fallingwater and the pavilion provide a unique opportunity to present new
works of art and new ideas. Even the meadow that lies just south of the house plays host to the annual Fallingwater Twilight Tour picnic and evening jazz concert.

Marlene brought her book club to Fallingwater to hear a recent lecture by Loving Frank author Nancy Horan. She called it a “great experience for a reader to actually get to talk to the author about passages in her book. We all found it enlightening.”

Uniontown resident Tom Seighman became a Fallingwater volunteer five years ago. One of his first projects was helping to put together the exhibit “A Fallingwater Homecoming” which celebrated the work of the local craftsmen who built Fallingwater. “Growing up in Fayette County, there was nodiversity of culture,” Tom said. “When Fallingwater opened to the public it gave us a strong cultural center. In my five years here, I’ve seen that center expand. Today we’re seeing youngsters here on a yearly basis, involved and interested. That, I think more than anything, will certainly improve the culture of the community.”

In recent years, Fallingwater has become a learning resource for Fayette County students. This past spring, Fallingwater’s Wright in Our Backyard program provided visits and a unique, hands-on educational curriculum (at no cost to the schools) to more than 2,700 students ranging from kindergarden to 12th grade in Butler, Fayette, Somerset, Greene and Washington Counties. Schools were also reimbursed for the cost of transportation. Ben Franklin Junior High student Matthew Daniels said, “Seeing that wonderful house, I realized that even in the smallest of
towns, amazing things can happen.”

Fallingwater offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for local residents interested in contributing
their time and talents to this important architectural landmark located in our own backyard. For more information on volunteer opportunities at Fallingwater, call Jennifer Hiebert at 724-329-1441, ext. 1204 or email her at jhiebert@paconserve.org.