Nature by Design: Botanical Lessons

June 8, 2019 – March 31, 2023
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Daphne mezereum L., No. 61, Daphne mezereum L., No. 61, University of Minnesota, School of Pharmacy, National Museum of American History

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY

2nd Floor

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Botanical Lessons explores nature in the Smithsonian collections through thirteen botanical models on loan from the National Museum of American History, and a selection of illustrated books and periodicals from Smithsonian Libraries, all of which served as teaching aids in a nineteenth-century period marked by a growing interest in science and education. The models and books facilitated an up-close view of plants to the naked eye, provided a better understanding of the natural world in a time where microscopes and image projection were not widely available. Through these designs, a new way of seeing nature was made possible for students, scientists, and the general public.