Members Area

Garden History & Design

Garden History
and Design Committee

The Garden History & Design Committee uses photography and research, the study of good design practices, educational and lecture programs, historic preservation awards, and scholarships to develop an appreciation of America’s significant gardens. 

With roots tracing back to 1916, the committee is an amalgamation of the Historic Gardens Committee and the Slide Library of Notable American Parks and Gardens Committee, both of which contributed to the GCA's wealth of historic material concerning America’s gardens. 

The committee works closely with the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Gardens (AAG) to document cultivated gardens throughout the country.  In honor of the GCA's 75th Anniversary in 1988, The Garden Club of America donated to the Smithsonian Institution its historic collection of 3,000 glass slides along with 30,000 slides of gardens from colonial times to the present. The Garden History and Design Committee encourages club members to add to the collection which  numbers more than 60,000 images and makes up the core of the Archives of American Gardens (AAG). 

Help us capture America’s garden history before it is lost

GCA garden clubs also work to identify AAG’s “Mystery Gardens,” garden records lacking basic information, such as owner or location, that would identify them. Without this fundamental data, these images lose much of their informational value. 

Explore Mystery Gardens by state and contact the Smithsonian archives staff at aag@si.edu or (202) 633-5840 if you can identify any of the gardens currently included in the Archives of American Gardens.