U.S. Botanic Garden celebrates 200th birthday with new exhibitions, features 600 orchids

The oldest continuously operating botanic garden in the nation is celebrating its 200th birthday with a new exhibit and year-long events.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the United States Botanic Garden is rich in American history with a lush collection of distinctive plants.

The major exhibition of the bicentennial is "The U.S. Botanic Garden at 200: Deeply Rooted, Branching Outward," which will be on on display from Feb. 20 through Oct. 15, 2020 in the Conservatory's East and West Galleries.

The display will allow visitors to explore historic images of the Garden, learn about plant exploration through the years and discover how the Garden works day-to-day.

“Discover the original 3D images through historic 1800s stereoscope photos of the Garden, test your detective skills with botanical challenges in a set evoking a scientist's station in an 1800s exploration ship and see what notes you can identify in a recreation of the infamous corpse flower smell,” USBG wrote on their website.


In addition to the bicentennial exhibit, "Discover the World of Orchids" will be on display in the Conservatory from Feb. 28 to May 3, 2020.

The collection will feature 600 orchids, generously donated by Northern Virginia resident Joe Francis.

Orchids have been a staple in the Garden's collection since the 1800s and currently form the Garden's largest specialty plant collection.

"As we celebrate 200 years of history at the U.S. Botanic Garden, I am excited to explore new ways of helping people make meaningful connections to plants," said Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director.“ I want every visitor to the Garden to feel welcome here and to come away with a greater appreciation for the natural world.”

In the fall, garden employees and volunteers will lead a large Festival event, plus special tours throughout the year to spotlight important plant collections and history.

Visit the USBG’s website to learn more about the exhibits and upcoming events.