Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden will open the 24th annual orchid exhibition, “Orchids: Amazing Adaptations,” in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, Feb. 16. On display through April 28, the exhibition explores how orchids have adapted to a variety of habitats and how humans can work to protect them.
“We are so happy to be in the Kogod Courtyard for this year’s orchid exhibit,” said Barbara Faust, director of Smithsonian Gardens. “This spectacular glass-ceiling courtyard is a beautiful light-filled venue for highlighting the diversity to be found in the orchid plant family and the orchid’s amazing ability to adapt to different environments and conditions.”
Orchids live on every continent except Antarctica. Over time, they have adapted to their habitats, climate conditions and other organisms, forming close relationships with the animals and pollinators. Drawing on the living collections of the Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden, the exhibition will feature thousands of orchids of several hundred varieties. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will learn how orchids have adapted to their many different environments and how an orchid’s shape, color or smell can tell a lot about its habitat.
“We are excited to collaborate with Smithsonian Gardens again to present this showcase of orchids and their incredible adaptations,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden. “From American native orchids adapted to a multitude of different habitats around the country to tropical orchids adapting to lure pollinators through astonishing flower diversity, orchids are masters at evolving to survive.”
“Orchids: Amazing Adaptations” is part of “Habitat,” an exhibition from Smithsonian Gardens exploring the importance of habitats and how to protect them. “Habitat” is the first in a series of changing exhibitions connecting all of the Smithsonian Gardens’ spaces with a single theme. From 2019 to 2020, “Habitat” will feature a variety of indoor and outdoor displays, exhibits and educational programs across the Smithsonian.
Orchid Family Day
Saturday, April 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be Orchid Family Day in the Kogod Courtyard. Visitors of all ages are invited to join experts from Smithsonian Gardens, the United States Botanic Garden, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery to make orchid art while learning about what makes an orchid unique and enjoying live music.
About Smithsonian Gardens
Smithsonian Gardens has designed and managed the Smithsonian’s grounds and interior plant displays in Washington, D.C., since 1972. 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.
About U.S. Botanic Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) is oldest botanic garden in North America. The Garden 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. The USBG is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
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About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. The Renwick is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.