Events

    Obsessions: Fellow Organisms in the Arnold Arboretum

    Location: 

    Online or at Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre St., Boston

    Join the Arnold Arboretum’s Director William (Ned) Friedman for the annual Director’s Series! To celebrate the Arboretum’s sesquicentennial, this year’s series will explore the Magic and Meaning of a Garden of Trees. Over the course of four sessions, we will trace the Arnold’s significance in the landscape architecture movement, value for the people of Boston, and leadership in creating global connections between plants and people. This final session will feature a talk from Director Friedman on fellow organisms in the Arboretum.

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    Olmsted: Bicentennial Perspectives (Day 2)

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum, Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre St., Boston

    The Harvard University Graduate School of Design, in partnership with the Arnold Arboretum, is hosting a two-day academic conference as part of the national Olmsted 200 celebration. While Olmsted was central to the conceptual formation of the degree program in landscape architecture at Harvard University and the design of the Arnold Arboretum, the interpretive ambitions of the conference are anything but parochial.

    Day 2 of the conference (Saturday, October 15) will take place at the Arnold Arboretum’s Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre St, Boston, MA 02131.

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    Journeys: The Arnold Arboretum Meets the World’s Plants and Peoples

    Location: 

    Weld Hill Research Building, Arnold Arboretum, 1300 Centre St., Boston

    Join the Arnold Arboretum’s Director William (Ned) Friedman for the annual Director's Series! To celebrate the Arboretum's sesquicentennial, this year's series will explore the Magic and Meaning of a Garden of Trees. Over the course of four sessions, we will trace the Arnold’s significance in the landscape architecture movement, value for the people of Boston, and leadership in creating global connections between plants and people.

    This session will include brief presentations and a moderated panel. The program is free and is offered both in person and livestreamed.

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    MassQ Ball 2022: Origin

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    The MassQ Ball 2022: Origin will feature the diverse artistic expressions of Boston’s communities of color. Interact with the landscape in new and creative ways, transform into a walking work of art through the practice of MassQing (a ritual application of paint to the face derived from ancient traditions of body decoration), and enjoy performances and art work by Boston cultural artists including:

    2:00pm–4:00pm:

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    MassQ Ball 2022: Origin | Making of Ceremonial Vessels

    Location: 

    Hemlock Hill and Conifer Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Led by Bengali culture worker Pampi, this audience participatory workshop allows attendees to weave love letters into hand-crafted ceremonial vessels for their loved ones. Vessels will be fashioned out of natural materials sourced from the Arboretum grounds and displayed in the MassQ Ball on July 9.

    Learn more and RSVP for this event.

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    Lilac Sunday

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Join us for the first Lilac Sunday since 2019! We’ll be celebrating 150 years of Arboretum history and 112 Lilac Sundays.

    Experience the springtime bloom of our renowned collection of nearly 400 lilacs. Visit for tours with Arboretum experts, hands-on children’s programming, and more.

    Learn more.

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    Ukrainian Plants of the Arboretum Tour

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum (Hunnewell Building), 125 Arborway, Boston

    Ukrainian culture is rich with references to the natural world. Join a one-hour walking tour with Arboretum Horticulturist Brendan Keegan. Learn about plants within the Arboretum's collections that are notable in Ukrainian history, cuisine, agriculture, and more. The tour is in support of our colleagues at botanical institutions throughout Ukraine.

    Learn more and register.

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    Art Exhibit | Stoneroot Epistle: Collage and Words in Conversation

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum (Hunnewell Visitor Center), 125 Arborway, Boston

    Visit the Arnold Arboretum's newly reopened Hunnewell Visitor Center and immerse yourself in this truly unique exhibition. The book, Stoneroot Epistle, was born out of Joyce Swagerty (Harvard class of '78) and Daina Swagerty's desire to understand the connection between themselves, the natural world, and the universal journey inspired by the African diaspora. The project by this mother and daughter was a spiritual adventure.

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    Celebrating a Sesquicentennial: The Founding of the Arnold Arboretum

    Location: 

    Livestreamed or at Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre St., Boston

    The Arnold Arboretum was founded on Friday, March 29, 1872. Exactly 150 years later, we invite you to join Lisa Pearson, Head of the Arboretum Library and Archives, for a special sesquicentennial lecture! Pearson will discuss the earliest benefactors of the Arboretum, the events surrounding the founding of the institution, and the busy first two decades during which the infrastructure and living collections were installed on the grounds.

    This event will also be livestreamed to YouTube. To sign up for the virtual livestream instead,...

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    Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea

    Location: 

    Online or at Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre St., Boston

    Just in time for the Arboretum's sesquicentennial and the bicentennial of the birth of pioneering landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, authors Rolf Diamant and Ethan Carr will speak on their recent book, "Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea." They'll offer a new interpretation of how the American park—urban and national—came to figure so prominently in our cultural identity, and why this more complex and inclusive story deserves to be told.

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    In the Groves

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Immerse yourself in the deep beauty of trees in this story and music journey through the Arboretum. Led by Oracle award-winning storyteller Diane Edgecomb and Celtic harper Margot Chamberlain, this unfolding performance of ancient tales and songs from cultures around the world takes place in a variety of groves—birch, cherry, and evergreen—at some of the Arboretum’s loveliest spots.

    This event is free, but registration is required and limited. Not designed for children under 12, and dogs are not allowed. COVID guidelines will be followed.

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    "Every Pecan Tree": Trees, Meaning, and Memory in Enslaved People’s Lives

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    This is the third lecture in the Arnold Arboretum's 2021 Director's Lecture Series. Tiya Miles takes up the pecan tree as inspiration for exploring the meaning of trees in the lives of enslaved African Americans. Using a family heirloom, slave narratives, oral histories, and missionary records, her talk underscores the importance of trees in the Black experience of captivity and resistance, ultimately revealing the centrality of the natural world to Black, and indeed human, survival.

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    A History of Path-Making at the Arnold Arboretum

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    At the time of its founding in 1872, the land on which the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is sighted was a patchwork of farmland and forest. As the Arboretum was planted, pathways were developed to lead people through the picturesque landscape. As the landscape developed, economies shifted, wars took place, and directors changed. Each of these factors subtly influenced shifts in the park’s path system. Join the Arnold Arboretum on Zoom with Jared Rubinstein as he reveals the layers of change in this beloved landscape.

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    Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    As the first botanical history of World War II, Plants Go to War examines military history from the perspective of plant science. From victory gardens to drugs, timber, rubber, and fibers, plants supplied materials with key roles in victory. Author and botanist Judith Sumner will speak of the many plants that were incorporated into wartime safety materials, diet and rations, and even bombers.

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    Peters Hill: Discover the Other End of the Arboretum

    Location: 

    Peters Hill Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Join our docent for a tour of the other end of the Arnold Arboretum, the southern end. Peters Hill became part of the Arboretum in 1894 and continues to charm with its special character, collections, and history. In summer, the amazing view from the summit takes in the Boston skyline and a rich and textured landscape spreading out below you. Learn the history of the land, along with information on the woody plants located here.

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    Walking Postscript: Revisiting Plants from the Bulletin of Popular Information

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    In 1911, Charles Sprague Sargent, the founding director of the Arnold Arboretum, began writing a serialized pamphlet titled the Bulletin of Popular Information, in which he described flowering and fruiting displays at the Arboretum. Because Sargent often focused on plants newly arrived from expeditions to Asia and elsewhere, many of his descriptions provided the first horticultural comparisons between species that had never been grown in the same garden.

    On this tour, Jonathan Damery will revisit plants mentioned throughout Charles Sprague Sargent's sixteen years with...

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    The First 25 Years: How the Arboretum Became the Arboretum

    Location: 

    Centre Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    The Arnold Arboretum did not come into existence full-formed, but had a long adolescence before it (literally) blossomed at 50. Our first director, Charles Sargent, prepared a 50-year report in 1922, before the end of his own 54-year tenure. But, what about the first 25 years? We don't have a 25-year report, however, we do have photos and the engaging stories from that time.

    Join our docent to hear those stories, as she takes you on a timeline...

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    Peters Hill: The Other End of the Arboretum

    Location: 

    Peters Hill Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Join our docent for a tour of the other end of the Arnold Arboretum, the southern end. Peters Hill became part of the Arboretum in 1894 and continues to charm with its special character, collections, and history. In autumn, the amazing view from the summit takes on a new tapestry of color, spreading out in the landscape below you. Learn the history of the land, along with information on the woody plants located here, like the collection of crabapples fruiting in many colors on the northern slope.

    Free but registration requested.

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