101. USBG History

Welcome to the United States Botanic Garden. Founded in 1820, this is the oldest continuously operated public garden in the United States. Our mission is to present beautiful horticultural displays, and to help you learn about the cultural, ecological, economic, and therapeutic importance of plants.


The U.S. Botanic Garden is administered by the Architect of the Capitol and overseen by Congress. Originally located on the west front of the U.S. Capitol, the Garden moved to its current location in 1933 when this conservatory was built. Today it is one of the most visited public gardens in America.


The Garden’s core plant collection began with plants gathered by the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 to1842, sent by Congress to explore the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands.


Four plants from that expedition still grow in the Garden today! At the visitor desk—where you came in—you can pick up a Plant Explorer’s Field Journal to help you locate these historic plants.

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