Region: North America

Keeping the Tlingit Thought World Alive

By: Lucy Fowler Williams and X̱'Unei Lance Twitchell

Keeping the Tlingit Thought World Alive The Vaunting Ambition of King Pyrrhus at Butrint A new rotation of objects in Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now continues to highlight Indigenous concerns around the themes of local nations, sacred places, celebrations, and new initiatives. A new commission, installed in April 2021, explores language loss and […]

From Lantern Slides to Snapchat

The Key Marco Collection Rediscovered

By: Megan C. Kassabaum and Austin J. Bell

From Lantern Slides to Snapchat The Key Marco Collection Rediscovered The Penn Museum holds an exceptional collection of objects from Key Marco, Florida—rarely preserved masks, figureheads, bowls, and various other tools. Collected during its 1896 excavations led by Frank Cushing, these objects provide clues to understanding both the ceremonies and daily life of the Native […]

An Introduction to the Garden History of Philadelphia

By: Chantel White

ONE OF THE GREATEST GIFTS offered by gardens is the enduring way they connect the living world to the past. Gardens reflect a complex interwoven history between people and plants that stretches back for millennia. It might surprise a modern-day gardener to learn how many years of botanical knowledge are contained within a single potato […]

A Lucky Find

Seed Packets Shed Light on Philadelphia's Horticultural History

By: Robert McCracken Peck

BECAUSE OF the ephemeral nature of gardens and the plants they contain, the history of horticulture is generally studied through the lens of botanical treatises, commercial catalogs, personal diaries, paintings, photographs, and surviving correspondence. Libraries are the places garden historians most often turn to for the information they seek. Archaeological research is less frequently attempted […]

Reconstructing a Historic Landscape

Geophysical Prospection at the Woodlands

By: Jason Herrmann and Kacie Alaga and Katie Breyer

THE COUNTRY ESTATE of native Philadelphian William Hamilton (1745–1813), known as The Woodlands, included much of the land now occupied by Penn’s campus. This estate was notable in the Early Republic United States not only for the mansion at the symbolic center of the estate, but also for the cultivated landscape and botanical gardens designed […]

Late 18th- to Early 19th- Century Flowerpots at The Woodlands

By: Marie-Claude Boileau and Justin Lynch and Yuyang Wang

FLOWERPOTS—earthenware pots that are built to contain plants, not to be confused with ornamental urns—have a long history that dates to the Romans, if not earlier. However, they were not produced in great quantities until the early 18th century and only mass-produced from the second half of 19th century onwards. As utilitarian objects made specifically […]

Unearthing the Roots of the Past

Archaeology at Historic Bartram's Garden

By: Alexandria Mitchem

ESTABLISHED around 1728, Bartram’s Garden is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the United States. John Bartram (1699–1777) was a Quaker farmer who became a self-trained botanist and naturalist. He and his son William (1739–1823) undertook numerous natural collection journeys along the east coast of the American colonies and later the United States of America. […]

A Botanical Discovery at Bartram’s Garden

Evidence for Preserved Plant Material

By: Chantel White and Elizabeth Coulter and Bevan Pearson and Juliet Stein

TODAY, visitors to Bartram’s Garden, located along the Schuylkill River in southwest Philadelphia, are greeted by a green terraced landscape that has been shaped by centuries of gardening activities. It is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the United States and contains several gardens for people to enjoy. A reconstructed kitchen garden showcases historical vegetables […]

The Art of Gardening in a Pennsylvania Woods

The Garden of Francis D. Pastorius

By: Miranda E. Mote

SEVERAL CITY BLOCKS separate what is today 6019 Germantown Avenue and the green space of the Awbury Arboretum. At one point, however, these nearly 40 acres in Germantown were home to the late 17th- and early 18th- century estate of scholar and lawyer Francis D. Pastorius, whose elaborate and carefully tended garden included more than […]

Public Gardens and Climate Change

A View From The Morris Arboretum

By: Anthony S. Aiello and Timothy A. Block and C. Skema

People must be convinced that if we want to continue to exist as a species, it is imperative that we learn how to live in harmony with our environment. Currently, the industrialized world is out of cycle with the natural cycles of our planet and climate change is the gravest consequence of the way we […]