Happy 2020! After years of anticipation and planning, the Freyer – Newman Center will officially open this spring. In addition to celebrating the intersection of science, art and education, the opening of the Center will mark a significant point in the history of the Research & Conservation, Art & Exhibitions and Education departments at the Gardens.
Two decades ago, Education and Research & Conservation were housed in what was formally the Education Building preparing for an early 2001 move to the Boettcher Memorial Center. A Green Thumb News (the Gardens’ former newsletter) article from August 2000 details this transition:
When you look inside our Education Building you can see a wall covered with a mural painted by children. Behind that wall is a look toward the future as we enhance our research and education programs by building a new, long-awaited expansion to the Education Building.
The project began March 2000 and will result in a brand new 3-story building, with a total of 11,500 square feet. By the beginning of next year, the Research and Education Departments will be able to claim the building as their new home. At the same time, the ongoing goal of Denver Botanic Gardens to focus on research, conservation and education will be seen in the new exhibit halls, learned about in the new classrooms, and discussed in the new meeting rooms.
Since its opening in 2001, Boettcher Memorial Center hosted hundreds of educational programs – from gardening and plant identification classes to Garden Camps for kids. Boettcher saw the formation of the Art & Exhibitions Department in 2007 and housed exhibits ranging from botanical illustration to contemporary landscapes to ancient natural objects. For Research & Conservation, Boettcher allowed us space to plan our projects and to expand our natural history collections. The space also inspired scientific discourse by hosting meetings such as the Pollinator Summit, Colorado Mycological Society Mushroom Fair and Tree Diversity Conference.
Our time in the Boettcher Memorial Center will be remembered in Gardens history as a time of significant progress toward our mission of connecting people with plants. Today, after two decades, we are ready for the next chapter of our story. Holding twice as many classrooms, four gallery spaces, an expanded library, improved laboratories and a more accessible herbarium, the Freyer – Newman Center will allow us to not only continue, but accelerate, our growth as an institution. We look forward to sharing our new space with you in May 2020.