Natick’s Town Seal Review Committee has learned a lot through historic research in its efforts to propose a new town seal, and is gathering even more perspective by reviewing approaches taken by other communities.
“The big takeaway for me personally is how little awareness there was about town seals, though I think that’s changing,” Natick Committee Chair Mia Kheyfetz says.
“Several communities in Massachusetts (as well as the Commonwealth itself) are in the process of examining these very public symbols and what they portray about our history and how we understand that history as 21st century citizens,” Kheyfetz says. “Mashpee is in the process of approving a new seal, Newton has just released a report on their seal, Andover, Yarmouth and Westborough are in the process and a few years back Framingham redid their seal.”
Natick has been helped by advice from members of the Framingham Seal Development Committee and Historic Newton.
“In reality though, there is no clearly defined path forward for how to reassess and redesign town seals. Each town has tackled this project in their own unique way,” Kheyfetz says.
The Natick committee was created following 2020 Fall Town Meeting approval, and charged with “reviewing the history of town seals in Natick [and] proposing a new town seal after a public process.”
The public process has included regular open meetings, and a forthcoming survey will ask about things like what themes you’d like to see on a new town seal, what best represents Natick’s history, and what best represents its future.
“The committee is focused on making sure people’s voices are heard and that the finished product is something we can all be proud of,” Kheyfetz says.
The town’s current seal includes an image designed in 1951 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Natick’s founding as a Christian mission for Indigenous people. The image was adopted for the town’s seal in 1980, but has since questioned for depicting an inaccurate understanding of Natick’s early history.
Town Meeting this past fall via Article 36 got an update on the committee’s work and approved the appropriation of $11K to be used for design services related to a new seal. The request for quotations for such services was among the committee’s March agenda items, and Kheyfetz says the goal is to hire a designer “who can help translate public input into design concepts.”
Once a design is settled upon, it would need to be approved by Town Meeting as the town’s official seal, as was last done in 1980.
The Natick Town Seal Review Committee next meets on March 21 at 730pm.
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