The Garden in 100 Objects: From the Iconic to the Rare

A new exhibit offers a fascinating firsthand look at Garden history through 100 unique objects.

Objects help bring history to life, and with nearly 160 years of history behind the Missouri Botanical Garden, rich stories can be found in virtually every specimen, structure, and artifact in the Garden’s diverse collections.



For example, the Garden Herbarium—one of the largest in the world—houses a specimen that Charles Darwin once held in his hand. Among the historical items gathered in Tower Grove House is the key that Garden founder Henry Shaw once used to unlock his wine cellar. Piles of coppery coins that used to grant visitors admission to the Climatron fill our archive shelves. Peer around the right corner and you may spot a weathered computer terminal no longer capable of processing much data; we still have it because it was on this computer that Garden researchers first launched Tropicos, the world’s first botanical database.

Garden President Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson recently collected 100 of these revealing objects and their stories in The Garden in 100 Objects: From the Iconic to the Rare, available from MBG Press.



For an even greater glimpse at Garden history, visitors can now experience some of these objects, plants, papers, and other curiosities up close in a new exhibit currently on display at the Ridgway Visitor Center. The Garden in 100 Objects collects some of the more visually interesting artifacts from across the Garden’s collections in one place, accompanied by fascinating historical facts. Visitors can also explore many of the objects too big to fit in display cases throughout Garden grounds with our interactive story map.

“Whether it’s the largest seed in the plant kingdom or the oldest book in our library, I hope you’ll find the stories behind these objects the fascinating beginning of a conversation about where we have come from and why what we do today will shape the important future of the Missouri Botanical Garden as one of the world’s great environmental leaders.”
-Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson



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