Victorians preserved pressed flowers as keepsakes but you can hardly press an iron garden bench into an album. Nathan Anderson takes us behind the scenes as as the Garden Furnishings collection is digitized.
Think of the many ways that horticulture—flowers, houseplants, fruits and vegetables—affects our lives and surroundings each and every day. Plants appeal to many of our senses; they attract us by their color, and appearance, and sometimes by the way they smell or taste. Smithsonian Gardens not only create and maintain our ever-changing living collections but also preserve and showcase the artifacts that demonstrate how horticulture has played a vital role in supporting and embellishing society for hundreds of years.
The Smithsonian Digitization Program Office recently finished digitization of Smithsonian Gardens’ Garden Furnishings and Horticultural Artifacts Collection. This collection preserves and showcases examples of how gardens and horticulture have played a vital role in supporting and embellishing society for hundreds of years.
The collection includes over a thousand garden furnishings from the latter half of the Victorian era (1837-1901), including benches and urns, as well as late 19th-/early 20th-century artifacts related to the horticulture trade, gardening, decorative arts, interior home accessories, and floral arrangements. These items—ranging from delicate bouquet holders worn as both fashionable ornaments and utilitarian objects to massive and ornate cast-iron fountains—help document America’s rich garden heritage so that it can be better understood, appreciated, and enjoyed today and in the future.
Nathan Anderson is a program officer for the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office.
Posted: 24 September 2018