About Us

Small white flowers with red foliage behind and a sign above that reads United States Botanic Garden

Steeped in history, the United States Botanic Garden is a living plant museum that informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humans and to earth’s fragile ecosystems.

More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden to demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is the oldest continuously operating botanic garden in the United States. Since 1934, it has been administered through the Architect of the Capitol.

The Garden has been recognized as a museum and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. This accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval that recognizes a museum's commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement.

U.S. Botanic Garden Mission

The U.S. Botanic Garden inspires people to appreciate, study, and conserve plants to enrich society locally and globally.

We carry out this mission by:

  • promoting botanical knowledge through the cultivation of an ordered collection of plants;
  • presenting displays of plants, exhibits, and educational programs to the Congress and the public; and,
  • fostering sustainability and plant conservation.

The U.S. Botanic Garden has committed itself to sustainability, educating the public about ways to live by supporting the interconnected web of life that is the environment, and in particular, by nurturing the plants that support life on our planet.

With the continued support of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Botanic Garden is committed to serving the American people. Just as our forefathers recognized the role of plants in the future development of the fledgling nation, there is even greater need today to renew our understanding of the importance of plants to the well-being of our citizens, our nation, and the world. It is hard to imagine a more important mission.

Professional Memberships and Accreditations

The U.S. Botanic Garden is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. The U.S. Botanic Garden is a member of the American Public Gardens Association, the American Alliance of Museums, Botanic Garden Conservation International, the Center for Plant Conservation, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Professional Grounds Management Society, and the American Horticultural Society.

American Public Gardens Associatoin member logo     Museum Accredited by American Alliance of Museums logo          Center for Plant Conservation logo