For this year’s Symposium, the Longwood Graduate Fellows are pleased to offer an incredible slate of speakers from the fields of museum planning, interpretive design, and living collections management, who will share their expertise. Come learn how to build relationships between people and your plant collections from those who have made it work!
Thoughtful interpretive planning is essential for helping people connect with collections at museums, zoos, arboreta, and botanical gardens. This may mean a shift from a resource-based planning approach to a market-based approach that incorporates the principles of social marketing as well as interpretation to touch the emotions of our audiences. We also must consider how to define expected results of an emotional connection in alignment with our organization's mission. This presentation will identify those best practices required in making emotional connections between people and collections.
Dr. Tim Merriman, CIT, CIP
Executive Director, National Association for Interpretation
Tim Merriman has been Executive Director of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) since 1995. NAI has 5,000 members in 30 nations. His 40-year career includes time spent as a park ranger/interpreter, nature center director, science director, and research manager with federal, state, and nonprofit organizations. Dr. Merriman holds a Ph.D. in Communications along with zoology, botany and education degrees. He is co-author with Lisa Brochu of Personal Interpretation (2002), Management of Interpretive Sites (2005), and History of Heritage Interpretation in the United States (2006). He is a Certified Interpretive Trainer and Planner, having worked on projects in fifteen nations.
With plant collections at the core of our institutions, guiding principles are critical. Collections require institutional commitment for their development, care, and use; they are fundamental in on-site education and research, and create a unique visitor experience. How does a public garden build a collection? Is the approach different today from yesterday? Find out what is required to establish a plant collection of botanic garden status, the elements that denote a high-quality collection, and how best to advance the collection into the future.
Mr. Galen Gates
Director of Plant Collections, Chicago Botanic Garden
Galen Gates is the Director of Plant Collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden. He is Chair of the United States Plant Collecting Collaborative (PCC), a consortium of six institutions that searches the world for new plants. He has collected and studied plants on numerous international trips, ultimately enriching botanical understanding and diversity in the U.S. His background in collections development, evaluation, writing, and display-garden construction has made him a popular speaker and consultant to public gardens, landscape design/build firms, publishers, nurseries, and seed companies. Mr. Gates has penned 30 journal articles and contributed to over 80 books.
Culture is constantly changing – and never more so than in our contemporary world. As it changes, so do the ideas and values associated with or expected from public gardens. In this keynote address, Gail and Barry Lord will consider how cultural change has affected public gardens, and how public gardens may participate more effectively in cultural change.
The root of our word culture is closely connected to people, plants, and collections: it is derived from the Latin verb colare, which means “to tend to,” “to care for,” or “to preserve.” In the Middle Ages the noun cultura referred to the cultivation of the land, but in the Renaissance, the word became a metaphor for the cultivation of the mind. By the 19th century, writers like Matthew Arnold were using the word much as we do today.
Another medieval word play: a curate was originally a clergy member who cared for the souls of a congregation. So by extension a curator today cares for the “souls” – that is, the meanings – of the objects in a collection, whether these are inanimate artifacts or animate living collections of plants. How has cultural change affected the ways in which people today can find meaning in plants, and how can public gardens best respond to these changes?
“Only connect …” wrote W.H. Auden. The Lords will explore the potential connections of people, plants, and collections at public gardens in this age of constant and sweeping cultural change.
Ms. Gail Dexter Lord
President, Lord Cultural Resources
Gail Dexter Lord is one of the world's foremost museum planners. She and Barry Lord founded Lord Cultural Resources in 1981, and as President of Lord Cultural Resources, Gail has led hundreds of projects on behalf of museums, botanical gardens, and other cultural institutions over the past twenty years. She has co-authored with Barry Lord The Manual of Museum Exhibitions (2001), The Manual of Museum Management (2009, second edition), The Manual of Museum Planning (1999, second edition), and The Cost of Collecting (1989). In addition, Ms. Lord has co-authored with Kate Markert The Manual of Strategic Planning (2007) and has published numerous articles on a wide range of museum topics. Ms. Lord has extensive experience in the museum and cultural sector and brings exceptional vision and knowledge to each of the projects she leads.
Mr. Barry Lord
President, Lord Cultural Resources
Barry Lord is internationally known as one of the world's leading museum planners. He and Gail Dexter Lord founded Lord Cultural Resources in 1981. Dedicated, thorough, and knowledgeable, Barry brings over 40 years of experience in the management and planning of museums, galleries, and historic sites to the hundreds of projects he has directed. He and Gail Lord have co-authored numerous landmark books on museum-related topics. In addition, Mr. Lord has authored The Manual of Museum Learning (2007), as well as numerous exhibition catalogues, art magazine articles and newspaper art criticism. He has also directed hundreds of master plans, feasibility studies, collection analyses, and exhibition planning, design and installation projects for museums around the world.
Every generation must come to its own understanding of nature. For people today, that process is remarkably different from the opportunities for interaction and enlightenment that were available to earlier generations: unfiltered, personal and positive experiences of nature are growing scarce. To be effective, public gardens must restore a portion of the real experience, real discovery, and real wonder inherent in encounters with living plants. Dr. Folsom's and Ms. Connolly's presentation will highlight examples from the Huntington that succeed in forging connections between plants and people, from the beauty of the Desert and Children's Gardens to the spectacle of the Stinky Plant.
Dr. Jim Folsom
Marge and Sherm Telleen/Marion and Earle Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Jim Folsom's lifelong love of plants is reflected in a B.S. in Botany from Auburn University, M.A. in Biology from Vanderbilt University, and Ph.D. in Botany from The University of Texas at Austin. Though his research has centered on orchids, Dr. Folsom's botanical interests are wide-ranging. He dedicates much of his effort to the development of gardens and educational programs that increase public interest in and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants. Dr. Folsom's achievements have been recognized with the AABGA/APGA Professional Citation and Award of Merit, AHS Professional Award, AAM Excellence in Exhibitions, and GCA Medal of Honor.
Ms. Kitty Connolly
Botanical Education Manager, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Kitty Connolly directs programs ranging from professional development for science teachers to discovery carts for garden visitors. The major focus of her work is interpreting the Huntington's collections through exhibitions. She was the Co-Principal Investigator and project manager for Plants are up to Something, the American Association of Museums' Grand Prize winner in Excellence in Exhibitions in 2007, as well as co-curator and coordinator of online and gallery exhibits at the Huntington and the Smithsonian Institution. She is a former Director-at-Large for the APGA. Ms. Connolly holds a B.S. in environmental zoology from Ohio University and an M.A. in geography from UCLA.
We work at institutions that operate at the intersection of nature, stewardship, and human aesthetics. Our vision is expansive: we advocate on behalf of plants and the planet, and are stewards of the people-plant relationship. We work with plants that may take years to mature in the landscape, a climate that is changing around us, and donors who want to see results in their lifetimes. And we are surrounded by facilities and landscapes that are testament to the hopes and dreams of previous generations and demand our respect. To achieve both short-term and long-term goals associated with these often conflicting priorities, we need to plan strategically in the face of limited resources. In light of the day's presentations, this session will challenge attendees to grapple with real-world dilemmas involved in transitioning collections from what they have to what they need and want for the future.
Dr. Christine Flanagan
Public Programs Manager, U.S. Botanic Garden
Christine Flanagan joined the U.S. Botanic Garden in 1996 where she leads the Public Programs Division. Dr. Flanagan directs a staff of 12 and is responsible for interpretive and collections planning, partnership programs, and exhibits. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and serves on the board of the American Society of Plant Biologists Foundation. Her most recent honors include the 2008 Professional Citation from the American Public Garden Association and the Ecological Society of America's 2009 Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education.