Formally known as the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum, this facility has been the scientific heart of the Missouri Botanical Garden for more than a century. It was closed to the public in 1982. Henry Shaw’s original museum has reopened following a painstaking restoration. It now offers a unique opportunity to view rarely seen art and artifacts collected over the last 160 years.
It reopened at the end of April, but with all our comings and goings, we missed that event. I remember visiting this museum in the early eighties. It was only open one weekend out of the year, during the garden’s annual Japanese Festival. Then it was a dark and dingy place. I don’t blame the garden for closing it.
Today, the sunshine poured through the building’s central skylight. The restored ceiling mural is a sight to behold. A modern annex has been built, making this 19th-century building accessible to all. While the main hall’s exhibits still feel like a work in progress, there are two other galleries with plenty of exhibits on display. Did you know that the tropical island of New Caledonia accounts for 7% of the world’s conifer species. I did not know that.