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John and Peggy Maximus Gallery

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Exhibit poster
Aeranthus sesquipedalis
Reichenbachia (1888-1894)
Frederick Sander

Beauty & Science; the orchid evolves
Now open through September 7, 2014
At the Museum in the John and Peggy Maximus Gallery

The cultivation of orchids was once a hobby of the elite. For those who could afford to obtain and maintain them, they were a status symbol. In the early 19th century, as new plants from Europe’s expanding colonial empire arrived at the greenhouses of gentleman-growers, the first illustrations of these exotic imports were printed.

The new method of copperplate engraving was capable of producing the great detail required by developing botanical science. There was a growing market for books and journals with color plates catering to the new “Orchidmania.”

Our summer exhibit pairs historical illustrations with contemporary orchid science. The electron microscope (SEM) reveals orchid flowers in greater detail than ever before.

Learn about innovations in imaging with Dr. Daniel Geiger, Curator of Malacology at the Museum. Daniel is also a Visiting Research Scholar at the Huntington Botanical Gardens where he is working on the obscure orchid genus Oberonia.

 

Daniel Oberonia zoom

Oberonia leytensis
Photo by Dr. Daniel Geiger
Curator of Malacology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

 
Daniel Oberonia SEM

Oberonia leytensis
Scanning Electron Microscope Image
by Dr. Daniel Geiger
Curator of Malacology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
 

 

 

 

 

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