How do pictures illustrate the conditions in our city now, and inspire us to improve them for the future? Big Plans examines the roles of visual images in supporting progressive social reform in the late 1800s and early 1900s—specifically, large-format urban plan drawings and small-format documentary street photographs. Big Plans considers the urban planning proposals developed in the service of social reform by Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Eliot in relation to the political picture-making of Lewis Wickes Hine and the cultural place-making of Isabella Stewart Gardner.
The lead sponsors of Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform are Gwill York and Paul Maeder. Additional support is generously provided by the Wallace Minot Leonard Foundation. The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.