Arboretum announces sesquicentennial year with new web pages and public events

The year 2022 heralds our observance of one hundred and fifty years since the birth of the Arnold Arboretum. Our sesquicentennial offers a unique opportunity to celebrate our illustrious past and help define and amplify what it means to be a twenty-first century arboretum in service to science and humankind. We are also excited to share this moment with the world through the debut of Arnold150—our web pages dedicated to 150 years of plants and people at the Arnold Arboretum—and a slate of seasonal events.

The many facets of the Arnold Arboretum as a living collection of plants, center for plant study and education, and community resource for the enjoyment of nature are illuminated online through historical highlights, staff picks of outstanding things at the Arboretum and some of our favorite centenarian plants, and much more. Pages also highlight opportunities for public engagement, and share historical and contemporary stories about the role, importance, and meaning of the Arboretum.

Recognizing the critical role of the community in the life of the institution, the sesquicentennial will be shared with neighbors, visitors, and plant enthusiasts across New England through seasonal public events planned over the course of our anniversary year. These offerings will showcase some of our key plant collections at their breathtaking peak, including a focus on witch-hazels in February and the return of Lilac Sunday in May.

Arboretum 150 logo

These events are designed to share our celebratory spirit and bring the community closer to the plants and collections that have made the Arnold Arboretum a leader in botanical gardens and a treasured part of Boston’s cultural landscape.

Sesquicentennial programs also acknowledge the legacy of the Arboretum as a free and open landscape in the city, and our responsibility at this moment to redouble our commitment to equity and environmental justice in the Arboretum landscape. As we look to the future, this milestone offers a peak opportunity to foster deeper connections with our community and provide a more welcoming environment for all.

As a second focus for our anniversary year, we commit to expanding how our collections, expertise, and scholarship contribute to global efforts to fight climate change and preserve biodiversity. Part of this is redoubling efforts to deepen the world’s understanding of nature and elevate the relevance of the Arboretum and its mission to the next generation.

The sesquicentennial of the Arnold Arboretum marks a time of celebration for the gift that this landscape and its botanical riches provide to all of us as individuals, as a community, and as a species. The Arboretum belongs to everyone and its benefits are universal, so a salutation of its long history and promising future is truly everybody’s celebration. Check our website for more opportunities to take part in our anniversary year, including programs like our Director’s Lecture Series that will be specially designed to reflect the sesquicentennial observance. We also plan to share stories of our mutual, human connection to this special landscape. Emphasizing joy and renewal, our activities throughout 2022 will highlight the Arboretum’s essential role in sharing nature with the public.

We hope you will join us over the coming year in celebrating the special relationship the Arnold Arboretum has fostered with the people of Boston, with scientists across many disciplines, and with tree and nature enthusiasts everywhere. You are invited to help us launch the next 150 years of plants and people at the Arboretum.