Botanical Gardens opens museum that had been closed for 36-years

ST. LOUIS – There is a lot to look at in the newly restored research museum at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

“We are outside the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum,” says Katie O`Sullivan, Senior Communications Officer.  “Obviously we have the original which dates back to the 1850`s and our new addition which makes it accessible for everyone.”

When Henry Shaw`s Botanical Garden first began in 1859, this was the first scientific research building.

Over the years it`s been a space for specimens, various offices, even a restaurant, but closed to the public for 36 years.

“You can see daffodils and iris on the mural and on our grounds, even pineapples in the Climatron and Osage orange trees which we have a couple left which date back to Shaw`s time,” says O`Sullivan.

Thanks to an $8 million-dollar renovation by Evergreen and Tarlton, the 7,000 square foot space is opening up the building and ceiling mural for the public to see.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Missouri State Bird in the mural and building that is the Botanical Garden`s salute to botany.

But there`s a back room with a back story about some faces of botany that had been hidden away over time.

“Some workers from Tarlton, who was the general contractor on the project were taking down a drop ceiling in this room and discovered there were some faces staring back at them,” says O`Sullivan.  “George Engelmann who had a significant role in helping Henry Shaw as a garden and not just a park was staring back at them.”

After removing the drop ceiling, it was discovered that Carl Linnaeus and Asa Gray were beside him looking down below.

And now you can stare up at the hidden history, now restored on the walls and ceilings of the research building.