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COLLECTION Identifier: IG-9.2

Exhibits collection, 1954-2006.


This collection was created by integrating several smaller collections dealing with exhibits at the Arnold Arboretum. Materials are varied and include photographs, negatives, articles, correspondence, notes, exhibit publicity, invoices, and videotapes. Some notable exhibits are Flowering Trees, Flora from Shakespeare, Bridge of Trees, and Museum in the Garden. The collection spans 1954-2006.


  • 1954-2006

Terms of Access

Researchers seeking to examine archival materials are strongly encouraged to make an appointment. The Director, or an office of origin, may place restrictions on the use of some or all of its records. The extent and length of the restriction will be determined by the Director, office of origin, and the Archivist and will be enforced equally for all researchers.

Terms of Use

The copyright is held by The President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the original author or the author's heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from the holder(s) of copyright and the Arnold Arboretum Archives prior to publishing any quotations or images from materials in this collection.

Photocopies may be made at the discretion of the Arnold Arboretum Archives staff. Permission to make photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce or publish materials outside the bounds of the fair use guidelines.


1.625 linear feet (5 boxes (1 flat))

This collection contains a variety of materials, including pictures, negatives, articles, correspondence, notes, exhibit publicity, invoices, and videotapes. The collection was created by combining a few smaller, semi-processed collections which were all about exhibits at the Arnold Arboretum. Items are arranged roughly chronologically within folders. Series VII is arranged alphabetically by exhibit name, maintaining its original order. The collection spans 1954-2006.

Historical Note

This collection contains materials from a variety of exhibits created by the Arnold Arboretum over the decades, including Magical Floral Forms, Blossoms on the Bough, Sargentia, Flowering Trees, Flora from Shakespeare, Bridge of Trees, and Museum in the Garden. There are also materials from annual exhibits like Christmas wreath making and the Camellia exhibitions.

The Flowering Tree materials were collated by Arnold Arboretum staff sometime during the 1960s, though its original date of creation and intended purpose is unknown. It appears to have been created as an exhibit for the Arboretum or for a flower show.

The Flora from Shakespeare exhibit was put on by the Arboretum in the late 1970s. It was researched and organized notably by Ida Hay and volunteer Cora Warren. The images showed a selection of flora which were mentioned in some of Shakespeare’s plays and were exhibited next to the selection in which they were mentioned. The images were photographed from illustrations in the library collection.

The Bridge of Trees exhibit showed images taken by two Arboretum taxonomists on a Sino-American botanical expedition in 1980. This expedition followed the Arboretum tradition of close ties with East Asia and was an opportunity to explore more specimens similar to those of America’s Northeast region.

The Museum in the Garden exhibit was completed after the renovation of the Hunnewell Visitor Center. The exhibit shows Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow’s early work at the Arboretum and its relationship to his later buildings. It was curated by Professor Margaret Henderson Floyd of Tufts University.

Visiting Committee and Board member as well as longtime volunteer Corliss Knapp Engle worked with Mary Lou Amrhein, also an Arboretum volunteer, to create a twelve minute automated slide show entitled "An Introductory Tour of the Arnold Arboretum." While many of the slides were from the Arboretum’s collection of 6,000 35mm-color slides, Corliss Knapp Engle was responsible for a great number of the images used in the production. The slide collection had been labeled and organized by volunteers under Engle's management and leadership during the 1970s and 1980s and was transferred to the Living Collections Department in the 1990s.

This introductory tour, which begins at the Arboretum’s Hunnewell Visitor Center and ends at Peters Hill, gives a concise overview of the 265 acres of woody plants and what it means to become member of the “Friends of the Arnold Arboretum.”

This part of the collection is principally composed of images of plants in the Arboretum's living collection from the 1950s through the early 1990s. The original slide show, which was created in 1982, described the Arboretum’s origins and highlighted selected plants from with the living collections. It also documented the public's use and enjoyment of the landscape through all four seasons. A special slide projector that included an audio tape player enabled the show to be automated and made available to visitors in the exhibit hall on the first floor. The slide show was revised in 1983-84 and was transformed into a 12-minute videotape production in 1991. In September 1997 Harvard Video Services Center made the tapes in their current format. One DVD copy was created in May 2006 [now missing-July 7, 2011].


The Arnold Arboretum Exhibits Collection, 1954-2006 is organized in 7 series:

  1. Series: I. Flowering Tree Exhibit, ca. 1960s
  2. Series: II. Shakespeare, 1977-1978
  3. Series: III. A Bridge of Trees, 1986
  4. Series: IV. Museum in the Garden, 1993
  5. Series: V. Miscellaneous Exhibits, 1984-2000
  6. Series: VI. An Introductory Tour of the Arnold Arboretum, 1982-2006
  7. Series: VII. Exhibit photographs and negatives, 1954-1985

Physical Location

Archives. IG-9.2

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Provenance: Series I was created by the Arnold Arboretum in the 1960s for viewing in an exhibit or flower show. Series VI of the collection was transferred to the archives from the exhibit hall in 1993 when the Hunnewell Building was renovated. Other series were created by the Arnold Arboretum for or in relation to exhibits.

General note

Access to Finding Aid record in HOLLIS.

Processing Information

Processed: Series I: Meghan Hardison, August 2009. Series VI: 1/21/98 by Carol David; Revised 04/01/2008 S. Connor. Full collection formed and updated 7/2011 Sara Beneman.

Arnold Arboretum Exhibits Collection, 1954-2006: Guide.
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Arnold Arboretum Archives Repository

The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is a specialized collection devoted to the study of temperate woody plants. We collect works on botany, horticulture, floras, urban forestry and taxonomy. The library contains more than 25,000 volumes and 40,000 photographs, and includes an archive that both documents the Arboretum's history and is a repository for 19th, 20th, and 21st century horticultural and botanical collections.

125 Arborway
Jamaica Plain MA 02130 USA