This summer has been our busiest season yet, hosting and working with groups that cover a wide array of subjects. These gatherings are proving the value of intimate and focused meetings in Oak Spring's supportive setting – we are seeing concrete outcomes and the beginnings of projects that will continue years into the future.
Read below for a taste of some of these meetings and the ongoing efforts that they represent.
White House History
We were honored to work with the White House Historical Association to host a meeting on the history of the White House Gardens and Grounds, including Mrs. Mellon's connection to the Kennedys and her significant contribution of the Rose Garden and Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. This meeting brought together presidential historians, landscape scholars, biographers and more to kick off a program that will culminate in a symposium on the White House Gardens in Washington, DC next spring.
Genesis of an Exhibition
John and William Bartram were some of America's earliest and most significant naturalists. A group of Bartram scholars, curators and museum leaders met at Oak Spring in June to kick off work planning a major exhibition on the Bartrams that will shine new light on their lives, their work and their worlds.
Leadership of Natural History
In June we also hosted a gathering of the directors of the world's leading natural history museums to discuss the relevance of their collections and new challenges facing their institutions in the modern era.
In July we hosted another group of representatives from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Conservation International. They worked to update the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, this time with a focus on crop wild relative plants in the Tropical Andes. This detailed work is crucial in advancing the conservation efforts of plants related to our food crops, which in turn is an important part of ensuring food security for the world well into the future.
Artists in Residence
At OSGF, we understand the role that art has played in the history of the science and culture of plants. In addition to exploring this history, we also support the future of art and its potential for connecting us to the natural world. This summer we are hosting a trial artist-in-residence program to explore our potential for growth in this area. Four artists kicked off this program with an artist salon for OSGF staff and guests in the Basket House and garden, where they discussed their writing, painting, sculpture and photography.