Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Minnetonka Center for the Arts invites you to Beauty and Truth: Botanical Art Then and Now, a conversation about the past, present and future of botanical art. Guest speaker Kathy Allen, Andersen Horticultural Librarian at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, will be joined by contemporary botanical artists who will show how botanical drawings and paintings are created. You will also view artwork juried into Flora and Fauna Illustrata, a program documenting plants, insects and animals that live or pass through the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Beauty and Truth: Botanical Art Then and Now will occur Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required. Enrollment is limited to 30 (ages 16 and up). Cost: $14 members, $16 non-members.

View Details / Register


While at Minnetonka Center for the Arts, don’t miss an exhibition of botanical art by the students of Suz Galloway. The exhibition Contemporary American Botanicals is on view in the Murphy Room through March 30, 2017. More Info

Read Full Post »

Merian-PP-For-TRADE-Cat-190x150mm.inddMaria Merian’s Butterflies
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
London, England
April 15 – October 9, 2016

A new book about the Maria Sibylla Merian collection in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace features 150 color plates, many of which were published in Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (The Metamorphoses of the Insects of Surinam).

Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, writes about Merian’s childhood fascination with butterflies and moths and her journey to Suriname to observe and document these insects and their host plants. Heard also writes about the people who influenced Merian’s artwork, and the fieldwork and research that earned Merian the title ‘the first ecologist’.

Every page of this book is a history lesson. If you are an admirer of Merian’s work, this book provides you the opportunity to study her paintings up close as her paintings fill most of the book’s 192 pages. If this is your first introduction to Merian and her contributions to entomology and natural history art, this book is sure to turn you into a fan of this fearless and passionate naturalist.

Maria Merian’s Butterflies compliments the exhibition of the same name now on view at The Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace.

This book is now available at your local independent bookstore.


Art, Ecology and Maria Sibylla Merian

Read Full Post »

What can manuscripts from the ancient Mediterranean contribute to the search for novel medicines?

Find out next month when Dr. Alain Touwaide, Historian of Science and Medicine and Scientific Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions presents The Ancient Mediterranean Pharmacopeia: A Source for Novel Medicines? at UCLA.

This presentation will occur on Wednesday, November 18 from 5:00 – 6:15 pm.


    University of California, Los Angeles
    Royce Hall 314
    10745 Dickson Plaza
    Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Visit UCLA


More about Dr. Touwaide’s research and his work with ancient manuscripts.

Read Full Post »

Dr. Alain Touwaide from the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions will be in the Los Angeles area to discuss the healing herbs of antiquity and to explore the therapeutic benefits of nature. Presentations will be held at UCLA and at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

    The Healing Herbs of Antiquity
    Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    Royce Hall, Room 306
    University of California Los Angeles
    5:00 PM

    Dr. Alain Touwaide is the Scientific Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution.

    Believing that ancient cultures would not have invested time and energy into medical formulas if they were not effective, Touwaide researches medical traditions from the ancient world through today.

    This special lecture will start from the observation that the medicinal plants and diet of ancient Greece are relevant to present-day medicine. Touwaide will explore sources for the discovery of the therapeutic and dietetic legacy of Ancient Greece, and ask “What do we actually know about the healing herbs of Antiquity?”

    Please RSVP to Yarell Castellanos by April 21, 2015
    (310) 825-0913

    This lecture will be presented by David Schaberg, the Dean of Humanities at UCLA. A reception will follow. Parking in Lot 4 for $12 (cash only).

    Gardens for Health: A Walk Through History

    Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
    Rothenburg Hall
    Saturday, May 2, 2015
    2:30 PM

    For centuries people have recognized the therapeutic benefits of nature and gardens. Alain Touwaide will explore the relationship between humans and nature. Learn about Pompeii, Constantinople, Baghdad, Cordoba, Granada, and Padua, as well as early manuscripts illustrating the relationship between humans and nature.

    No reservations required
    More Information

Read Full Post »

The United State Botanic Gardens will host a special lecture series about botanic gardens and how they have contributed to our knowledge of plants.

Alain Touwaide, Scientific Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions, and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institute, will explore four gardens and discuss their contributions to botanical history. A brief overview of this lecture series follows. Please click on the links to read details about each lecture.

Attendance is free. Pre-registration required.

Did you know there was once a movement to create a large botanical garden in metropolitan Los Angeles?

The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens uncovered records and letters about this garden in their archives and writes about the garden on their website. They tell the story of California naturalists who started a non-profit organization and who purchased 3,200 acres of land in the Santa Monica Mountains. The organization planned to use 800 acres to create a public garden and research center. The remaining 2,400 acres were to be sold as residential property. The proceeds were to fund the garden.

Called the “California Botanic Garden”, the garden opened in 1928. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression forced the garden closed in 1935. The garden and the surrounding land was sold and both were eventually enveloped into what is now L.A.’s Brentwood community.

What happened to all the plants?
Find out in The Forgotten Garden on Kew’s website.

You Might Also Enjoy This from the Teaching & Learning Archves

Public Perception of Botanical Gardens

Reminder: The weekly teaching & learning column is on a brief publishing break. This break will continue through June.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy revisiting selected articles.

Read Full Post »

Stories. Timelines. Visual data. Photosynthesis. Botanical art.

You’ll find them all in Historical Plant Studies: Tools for Enhancing Students’ Understanding of Photosynthesis by Dr. Stephen Thompson, professor of science education at the University of South Carolina.

Using the 5E learning model, Thompson helps students connect with scientists who, centuries ago, worked diligently to explain the source of plant matter.
Thompson (2014) prepares historical accounts of their studies and assigns one scientist to each student group in his class. Thompson’s students learn about the research of Jan Baptista van Helmont (1649), John Woodward (late 1600s) and Stephen Hales (1727), Joseph Priestly (1770s), Jan Ingenhousz (1790s) and Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure (1804).

After reading about the contributions made by their respective scientist, each student group begins the task of preparing an informational poster featuring their scientist’s hypothesis, materials and methods, results and conclusions.
Thompson (2014) encourages students to create their posters using mostly visual information and only the amount of text necessary to explain key information.

When completed, student posters are placed along a historical timeline and are presented in chronological order. As students present their poster,
Thompson (2014) gently corrects student misconceptions. Students are then asked to create a graphic organizer summarizing each study and are asked to draw models and write a description for one of the studies (Thompson, 2014). Thompson uses the drawing and writing exercise as an assessment tool to evaluate student understanding.

Photosynthesis is not an easy concept to grasp. Fortunately, Thompson (2014) makes this topic easy to understand and easy to teach, thanks to him sharing his written passages with fellow teachers. Get a copy of Historical Plant Studies and you’ll be ready to try this activity yourself and be ready to help students tell the story of how plants make food.

Thompson (2014) can be purchased online for 99¢ from the NSTA Science Store. You can also look for this article at your local college library.

Literature Cited

Thompson, Stephen. 2014. Historical plant studies: Tools for enhancing students’ understanding of photosynthesis. Science Scope. 37(6): 43-53

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: