Royal Botanic Gardens mark 250th year with series of touring lectures

By Culture24 Staff | 11 April 2009
A picture of a large building on a grassy knoll overlooking a river

The Royal Botanic Gardens are taking experts on tour to celebrate 250 years of horticultural excellence

Swanky venues will host debates on seed banking, digital gardening, the botanical past of Benjamin Franklin and environmentalism in a series of talks to mark the 250th anniversary of The Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.

The role of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership, cited as “perhaps the most significant conservation initiative ever” by David Attenborough, will be outlined by Dr Paul Smith in the opening address as the Science Museum on April 18 2009.

Smith then heads to the British Museum as part of the panel for a potentially tumultuous debate on the exploitation and preservation of landscapes, where he will be joined by controversial economist Sir Nicholas Stern, author and journalist Tahmima Aman and BBC Environment Correspondent Sarah Mukherjee, who will be chairing the event.

Professor Angela McFarlane, Kew’s Director of Content and Learning, will explain how the ancient garden is embracing the digital age in an address at the Lichfield Festival in July, and Smith will reveal the “mutual botanical passion” of Sir Joseph Banks and Benjamin Franklin at the British Library in September.

Designer Celia Birtwell is the star of an Art of Botany discussion at the V&A later that month, and The Royal Society hosts a talk by Professor Stephen Hopper on the importance of plant taxonomy and systematics in the struggle to adjust to climate change in December.

Seed Banking, Science and Society, Science Museum, London, April 18 2009, 2pm. Tickets £5, call 08708 704 868.

Whose Landscape is it Anyway?, British Museum, London, July 6 2009, 6.30pm. Tickets £5, visit Kew Gardens for booking details.

Kew at 250, Lichfield Festival, Lichfield, July 10 2009. 12pm, tickets £5, visit Kew Gardens for booking details.

Benjamin Franklin House Symposium, British Library, London, September 9 2009, 6.30pm. Tickets £8/£5, call 020 7839 2006.

Art of Botany, V&A Museum, London, September 11 2009, 7pm. Tickets £8/£6, visit Kew Gardens.

Science not Stamp Collecting – the Importance of Botany From 1759 to 2059, The Royal Society, London, December 1 2009, 6.30pm. Admission free (limited capacity).

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