This fall (Sept. 9 – Dec. 14), the American Philosophical Society Museum is going green and high-tech. The Greenhouse Projects present five distinct but interrelated large-scale programs. Each project interprets the historical themes and objects in the current exhibition Of Elephants & Roses and connects them to relevant issues today. The centerpiece is a verdant, futuristic greenhouse installed in the American Philosophical Society’s Jefferson Garden (on 5th Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets), designed by award-winning architect Jenny Sabin. Other projects include a sound installation in the greenhouse by composer Kyle Bartlett, a comedy that mixes botany and utopian dreams (presented as part of the Philly Fringe), podcasts on the history of French gastronomy (remember, cooking is a science), and a GPS-guided geocaching expedition through the gardens and landmarks of Philadelphia 200 years ago. Additional programming includes family-friendly weekend activities, artist dialogues, and an uninhibited tour of the trees of Center City (“The Mighty, The Stinky, and the Just Plain Pretty”) that will leaf you laughing.

Talk a walk through Jenny Sabin’s greenhouse and listen to Kyle Bartlett’s sound installation here:

For a review of The Greenhouse Projects, click here:
The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Greenhouse Projects include:

Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils by award-winning architect Jenny Sabin. A greenhouse for the 21st century stands in the American Philosophical Society’s garden. An outgrowth of the Museum’s current exhibition, it was conceived by artist, designer, and architect Jenny Sabin. Her ecologically savvy structure re-envisions greenhouse architecture using digital design tools. It is also a striking work of art that includes a Cabinet of Future Fossils—like the cabinets of curiosities that early scientists maintained. But, Sabin’s organically-shaped fossils are created in a 3D printing process.

Chaotic Menagerie, a sound installation by musician/composer Kyle Bartlett, located inside the Sabin greenhouse. The score includes sounds associated with the exhibition—such as elephants trumpeting, grasses rustling, and birds singing—along with samples of period French music and Bartlett’s original, electro-acoustic compositions.

A Paper Garden: An idiosyncratic and indefatigable account of Empress Josephine’s and André Michaux’s love of botany, a play with director/designer/playwright Aaron Cromie, Mary Tuomanen, and Genevieve Perrier. Unusual boxes are sent across the Atlantic Ocean by famous world explorer, raconteur, and botanist André Michaux to Empress Josephine’s French estate. What blooms is a story full of fact and fancy, love songs, and one unique French garden. The play will be performed in the Jefferson Garden, using the Sabin greenhouse as part of its set.

Ghost Gardens and Lost Landscapes, a geocaching treasure hunt, where participants use GPS coordinates and clues to find nine hidden “caches” on the sites of past gardens or historical landscapes in and around the APS Museum and Independence National Historical Park. Each cache leads to an audio label that links what visitors see today to what they would have seen at a selected moment in the past.

Vive La France: French Cuisine and the Evolution of Modern Cooking (with recipes), a series of five podcasts by radio producer and food writer Lari Robling. The same post-Revolutionary scientific and cultural changes that rocked Paris in the early 19th century also changed French gastronomy. The podcasts feature experts–such as cultural historian Adam Gopnik–who trace the historical, cultural, and scientific currents that spurred the development of classic French cuisine. Food writer and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan contributes the recipes.

The Greenhouse Projects is funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program.

Photo credit Brent Wahl