100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20001
From jungle to desert to primeval paradise, the indoor gardens and galleries of the U.S. Botanic Garden highlight the diversity of plants worldwide, as well as their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological significance.
The U.S. Botanic Garden is a living plant museum with exhibits that interpret the role of plants in supporting Earth's diverse and fragile ecosystem and in enriching human life. Its collections date to the 1840s when 250 plants and an unknown quantity of propagation material gathered by the Wilkes Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) were brought back to Washington, D.C. The Garden's present conservatory is a two-part building. The front is a one-story limestone structure with 11 lofty arches inspired by the 17-century orangery at Versailles near Paris. At the rear is a glass and aluminum greenhouse conceived in the glass house tradition first seen in the 1850s Crystal Palace in London. The conservatory was designed by the Chicago firm of Bennett, Parsons & Frost and completed in 1933.
The Conservatory houses a number of permanent exhibits including: