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Saturday, May 6, 2017

2017 Arts and Archives: Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum

The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden has 16 glass houses open to public.
One of the very highlights of our 2017 Arts and Archives tour was the visit to the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Museum where our guide was Dr. Norbert Kilian, the head of the library and museum.
Berlin Botanical Garden was originally developed by the Great Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick William as a model agricultural garden in 1679. In 1879 a Botanical Museum was created to house and promote research on the continuously growing collection. It is today the second largest botanical garden in the world with an area of 43 hectares (126 acres) and ca 22000 plant species. In 1995 the institution became part of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin.

Carl Ludwig Willdenow's Album Amicorum  from the latter part of the 18th century. Willdenow was the director of the Berlin Botanical Garden from 1801 until 1812. He formed the basis for the herbarium and library.

During the bombings of WWII the Museum lost 90% of its herbarium collections, 99% of the library and 100% of the rare collections. The rebuilding started 1957 and the museum and herbarium today includes the Willdenow Herbarium, Bridel Herbarium, spirit collection, gymnosperm cone collection, fruits and seed collection, wood collection, gall collection, plant remnants from Egyptian tombs (G. Schweinfurth Collection), collections of resins and plant fibres, and DNA bank.
The museum has a large herbarium of about 3.6 million preserved specimens in 24 herbarium rooms, and the library includes 300000 books (on some 9.5 km of book shelves). The Garden publishes two periodicals, Willdenowia and Englera.
Dr. Kilian gave us an enlightening presentation of the history of the Garden and Museum, a tour of the library and Herbarium, showed a collection of rare and antique books with botanical illustrations, and explained how botanical illustrations have been a part of the botanical sciences through the millennia.


The oldest herbarium at the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Museum. The individual plants are attached on the pages of a bound book, This book-herbarium is from 1660.   

Please click here for more photos from our visit 

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