Frederick Law Olmsted, a designer of parks for the people, believed that beautiful landscapes provide moral and spiritual sustenance. Charles Sprague Sargent, director of the Arnold Arboretum, was devoted to the scientific study of trees. In 1872 their separate visions came together on an old farm in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston to create the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.
The Arnold Arboretum, a link in Boston’s Emerald Necklace park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, has given pleasure to thousands of visitors for well over a century. True to its mission, the Arboretum has developed, curated, and maintained a superbly documented collection of living woody plants; research using this collection is supported by a herbarium and library. Science in the Pleasure Ground tells the story of the Arboretum—of its evolution over time and of the knowledge and enjoyment that many people have derived from its landscape and plants. Copies of the original Olmsted drawings for the Arboretum, “then and now” photographs, and a nine-by-fifteen-foot scale model of the landscape illustrate the story of this unique design collaboration.
Science in the Pleasure Ground is located in the Arboretum’s Hunnewell Building at 125 Arborway in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.