A Building Renovation - Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum

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Opened in 1859, Henry Shaw's Museum was the scientific heart of the Garden for more than a century before closing in 1982 when the final use of the building, the Garden’s café (then known as “The Greenery”) moved to the newly-built Ridgway Visitor Center.  At the end of April the Garden reopened this historic gem to showcase artifacts and offer a unique gathering space in one of the Garden's most beloved areas. 

While much has been reported on the beautiful ceiling mural that has been restored, we are just as excited that all Garden renovation work is done with sustainability in mind – and this historic renovation was no different.

Sustainability components include:

1) Energy efficiency was addressed in multiple ways including that all lighting was renovated using LED lights

2) Windows were improved in the existing building by replacing the single pane windows with thermal double pane units while saving the historic wavy glass look, and in the addition the windows were installed with bird glass that has a series of markings, visible to birds but not to humans, that are designed to reduce bird strikes

3) Air quality was addressed by using low VOC paints, sealers and stains for 98% of all needs

4) Water efficiency was included as all restrooms were designed using reduced flow fixtures

5) The Gardens outer historic wall was in the way of construction, so it was deconstructed, the stone was labeled and saved, and the wall will be rebuilt in May 2018 and more! 


The Garden restored and renovated this historic architectural and botanical treasure and will 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. 

The Museum Building interior boasts a two-story auditorium with a wraparound, second-level balcony. The space is dominated by a dramatic skylight surrounded by an ornate ceiling mural by French artist Leon Pomaréde. The mural itself is worth the time to see this building. Bookshelves line the walls behind glass paneled doors. Stairs at one end of the building provide access to the upper level.  

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.  

Come see this fantastic renovation for yourself! The 7000-square-foot Museum is located in the Garden's Victorian District. Click here to plan your visit to the Garden today. 

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