Placemaking and Wayfinding

Military Base And Legacies

Created by Enid Baxter Ryce, the “Planet Ord” project started as a small-scale art project aiming to document the landscape, ecology and community of Fort Ord – the largest decommissioned Army Base in the American West – and present that documentation to the world in a free and easily accessible form.

This project became a partnership with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, which held a special pop-up exhibition and ceremony recognizing the Planet Ord project in the Library of Congress.

Enid’s feature film, ‘A Land for War’ (based on the project) premiered at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C in 2017 along with a collection of her students’ films. ‘A Land’ will next screen at the 2017 Philip Glass Days and Nights Festival. The film was made over a span of 10 years.

During the course of the project, Enid and her students discovered thousands of murals, painted by thousands of soldiers. They also developed a model for recording homeless veterans oral histories for the Library of Congress.

The project inspired two museum exhibitions: at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and Monterey Museum of Art. Paintings about Fort Ord Enid Ryce created are permanently displayed at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Transition Center. Enid has done more than 100 lectures on the project, including at the USC Huntington Libraries’ Center for the American West and at the National Council on Public History 2016 and 2017 (in collaboration with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project staff).

Enid Baxter Ryce also created related arts workshops for homeless veterans at the Veterans Transition Center and events and exhibitions at four branches of the Monterey County Free Libraries.

Over 200 veteran oral histories recorded by her students have become part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Her photographs have become the official U.S. Army archive of Fort Ord. has been visited over 6 million times.

This project’s Facebook page is a community conversation of soldiers, veterans, artists, students, activists, ecologists, historians and community members who share their experiences of a dynamic, beautiful, violent and important place.

Historic Fort Ord is part of Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen tribal lands. It became an active military base during the Civil War and Indian Wars. Fort Ord was historically significant in many ways including being the primary training site for drafted soldiers during the Vietnam War, the first racially and gender integrated military base, the home of VOLAR and the innovative Lightfighters, as well as being designated a National Monument in 2012.

The original base is roughly the size of San Francisco, and is a critical wilderness area in California. Over 1 million soldiers served at Fort Ord. Here’s a brief history: and timeline:

The Department of the Interior invited Enid Baxter Ryce to propose a refresh of their website and museum interpretive materials for the Crissy Field area. The proposal (created with Jenny Conte) has been accepted and the timeline delayed. 

Enid Baxter Ryce created a series of oil paintings that are on permanent exhibition at the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. An interpretive booklet that she wrote and designed contextualizes the paintings.

Enid Baxter Ryce created a commissioned series of exhibitions for the Monterey County Free Libraries at the Marina, King City and Seaside branches based on the history and ecology of Fort Ord. The materials created will be on permanent exhibition at the Seaside branch.

Enid Baxter Ryce created an art and culture of Fort Ord exhibition for the City of Seaside’s Diamond Anniversary Celebration.  The exhibition included artworks, archival materials and participatory activities.

Enid Baxter Ryce assisted with editing CA State Parks interpretive materials for the Fort Ord National Monument.

Enid Baxter Ryce was invited by the U.S. Army to create an archive of photographs of the East Garrison neighborhood for Fort Ord.

In 2011, Enid Baxter Ryce was invited by the Department of Homeland Security to create an exhibition of archival materials for the lobby of the Defense Manpower Data Center.

Back to Placemaking and Wayfinding