Orchids on display in the 2022 orchid exhibit in the Kogod CourtyardOn Jan. 29, the Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden will open the 26th annual orchid exhibition. “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” will be on display in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery through April 24. The exhibition unearths stories of women who have enriched the understanding and appreciation of orchids.

“This is such a special exhibition because it amplifies the artistic and scientific contributions of women to the world of orchids,” said Joy Columbus, director of Smithsonian Gardens. “The amazing orchid collections of Smithsonian Gardens and U.S. Botanic Garden are critically important in telling these important stories and supporting biodiversity in face of a changing climate.”

Women have been instrumental in shaping orchid collections throughout history. Despite their remarkable achievements in art, botanical illustration, orchid cultivation and scientific discovery, many of these women have not received the recognition they deserve. “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” highlights these unsung horticultural heroines and solidifies their ongoing influence on orchid collections.

The exhibit draws on the living collections of the Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden and will feature several hundred varieties of orchids alongside stories of women’s history.

“We are happy to continue our strong collaboration with Smithsonian Gardens to champion orchid conservation, education and exhibition,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden. “We are honored to share our diverse orchid collection for this exhibit celebrating women’s contributions in orchids and horticulture, and we hope to inspire future generations to continue this legacy of groundbreaking work.”

Visitors can also engage “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” virtually. The Smithsonian Gardens’ website will feature videos about groundbreaking women, an interactive map of the exhibit space, images of the exhibit and its exquisite orchids, and fun activities to learn more about orchids. Additional support for “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” was provided by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

About Smithsonian Gardens

Smithsonian Gardens has designed and managed the Smithsonian’s grounds and interior plant displays in Washington, D.C., since 1972. As a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Smithsonian Gardens enriches the Smithsonian experience through permanent garden displays, horticultural exhibits, collections and education. The Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection, which was started in 1974, contains more than 8,000 hybrids and species. Visit gardens.si.edu to learn more.

About U.S Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is the oldest continuously operating public garden in the United States, created in 1820. The USBG informs visitors about the importance and fundamental value and diversity of plants, as well as their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological significance. With over a million visitors annually, the USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices. It is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. www.USBG.gov

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Media contact: Devin Dotson, USBG, 202-306-6743; or Madeleine Weyand-Geise, SI, (202) 802-8136