Museum Exhibitions

Current Exhibit

Potato (Solanum tuberosum): Apple of the Earth 
November 15, 2019-March 17, 2020

In addition to being a favorite Thanksgiving side dish, the potato is the most important non-cereal food crop in the world and is a significant part of the diet of more than 1.5 billion people. The exhibition at the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum highlights botany, history and contemporary art focused on this underestimated tuber around the globe.

“It has such an interesting story,” Sachs Museum Curator Nezka Pfeifer said. “It’s gone from being an American plant to being ubiquitous around the world.”

Its story continues today as the potato’s pervasiveness ties it to global issues including climate change, food insecurity and food sovereignty.

The Sachs Museum show includes 40 specimens from the Garden’s herbarium representing a variety of potato species found in different parts of the world. The exhibit will also showcase tools used for farming and cooking potatoes, including antique agriculture tools and more than 100 potato mashers from many different countries. Other items, like Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head, highlight the potato’s role in pop culture.

The South and Lower Level Galleries feature work from contemporary artists Seamus O. Hames, Dornith Doherty, and Corina Kennedy. Each artist has interpreted the unique story of this food crop in their artworks, especially the historic impact of the late potato blight that devastated the potato crop in Ireland in the mid-19th century. 

Past Exhibits

Botanical Art Worldwide: America's Flora (February-May 2019)

Curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the United States Botanical Garden, Botanical Art Worldwide: America's Flora brought 46 botanical artworks of America's native plants to the Garden for a limited time in the spring of 2019.

ASBA artists worked over four years on the project, creating 240 images of U.S. native plants, from which 46 were selected by jurors. Plants from around the country are featured, including saguaro cactus from the desert Southwest, bigleaf maple from the West Coast, bottlebrush buckeye from the eastern seaboard, and bloodroot, spanning the midwestern and eastern U.S. Familiar plants are shown, including sunflowers and violets, as well as rare species such as lady’s slipper orchids. Artists worked in a variety of media to portray their subjects, many in watercolor, but also in oil, colored pencil, pen and ink, and etching.

Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora is part of a worldwide project, which launched nationally focused exhibitions that are simultaneously on view in 25 countries on six continents. Each exhibition features original contemporary artwork of its country’s native plants portrayed by resident artists. Visitors to each exhibition can explore a digital presentation of artworks in the other 24 countries’ Botanical Art Worldwide exhibitions.

This global collaboration aims to increase appreciation and understanding of the world’s plant diversity and to link people with plants through botanical art. The project seeks to raise awareness of the growing interest in botanical art while documenting plant species around the world. Participating countries include Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Southern Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Hours and Admission

A visit to the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum is included with Garden admission. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Special Exhibit on Display at Lambert Airport

An exhibit from the Missouri Botanical Garden is now on display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. 

Plants and People: The Collections of the Missouri Botanical Garden features artifacts from around the world that tell the story of the interchange between plants and people. The objects also tell the story of the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the world’s leading centers for botanical exploration, plant science and conservation.