Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum

Opened in 1859, Henry Shaw's Museum was the scientific heart of the Garden for more than a century before closing in 1982. 

With your support through the Garden for the World campaign, the Garden aims to reopen this historic gem to showcase artifacts and offer a unique gathering space in one of the Garden's most beloved areas. 


The 7000-square-foot Museum is located in the Garden's Victorian District. The Georgian structure was built at Shaw’s direction according to plans by prominent St. Louis architect George I. Barnett, for the purpose of housing the Garden’s original library, herbarium and natural history specimens.  

In the years after Henry Shaw's death on August 25, 1889, the original library and museum served a number of functions. Most uniquely, immediately following Shaw’s death, the Museum was the venue where his body lay in state for public viewing. In subsequent years, it has also served as a research lab and a time-lapse photography lab. It has housed offices, a restaurant, board and staff meeting rooms and computer class rooms, and it served as the Garden’s main auditorium until the construction of the Lehmann Building in 1972.  


Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson was struck by the historic nature of the Museum when he became Garden president in 2010, and called for a $3 million renovation and restoration program. 

“I think it’s one of the most historic buildings in St. Louis,” Wyse Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the spring of 2011. “We don’t want it to be hidden anymore.” 

The Garden seeks to restore and renovate this historic architectural and botanical treasure and use it as a space to host a varied program of events and botanically-themed exhibits focused on ethnobotany, economic botany, endangered plants, Garden history and the Garden’s remarkable scientific achievements. The space will also serve as a future event venue available for rent. 

Support the reopening of the Museum with your contribution to the Garden for the World campaign. 

Reopening the Museum

In preparing this treasure for modern audiences, the Garden will: 

  • Create an exhibit venue showcasing artifacts on ethnobotany, endangered plants and Garden history
  • Construct an addition on the building's east side with a fully accessible entrance, an elevator and updated and expanded restrooms
  • Build accessible pathways and enhance gardens on the building's perimeter
  • Restore the lower level's historic architectural features and create a new exhibit space
  • Conserve the ceiling mural
  • Restore the stairwell, floors and cabinets
  • Upgrade electrical, fire protection and heating and cooling systems
  • Protect the building through tuck-pointing, drainage improvements, waterproofing and window repairs

Support the reopening of Henry Shaw's Museum with your contribution to the Garden for the World campaign! 

donation button

How Will the Museum Look?

Renovating the museum will include an addition to the building. This addition will house new restroom facilities, an elevator and other amenities to make the facility accessible and enjoyable for all.

Museum rendering cross section

Overhead shot of new addition