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New exhibition takes root in downtown Flushing

TimesLedger Newspapers

If you’ve ever ventured on over to the Pitch and Putt at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, you might have just seen a plant known as a perennial, one that seems to grow year after year.

It might even date back to 1939, when it would have been planted at the approximate location of the original Queens Botanical Garden, then known as “Gardens on Parade” during the World’s Fair.

Beginning this Tuesday, the horticultural institution opens a new exhibit, “Harvesting Our History — The Story of Queens Botanical Garden,” as part of the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the ’64 and ’39 Fairs.

“The exhibit in our gallery is only a fraction of what we have,” Darcy Hector, QBG’s director of marketing and development, said. “We are trying to provide a good representation of the era. Materials were mostly from our archives, which contain about 20 notebooks worth of material, the majority being photographic, as well as information from the New York Public Library.”

On May 18, 1939, a five-acre exhibit opened a few weeks after the Fair’s first day of business. By March 1954, the garden had been expanded to cover 15 acres in the heart of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. But when talk began about Queens hosting a second fair, the garden was shuttered in October 1963 and relocated to its present location, 43-50 Main St. in Flushing.

In its new home it was enlarged again, this time to 39 acres.

Harvesting Our History will tell that story in photos, memorabilia and documents in an exhibition conceived, designed and produced by Ed and Joyce Morrill, founding members of QBG’s Gallery Committee.

After gathering the notes and photos, Darcy turned all the information over to the Morrills, who selected what would be in the exhibit.

“Maureen Chen digitalized some of our most significant archives over the past year,” Darcy said. “We certainly wouldn’t have been able to do this without her assistance.”

Darcy then focused on writing the text that appears on the 15 panels that make up the exhibition.

“The inspiration for this exhibition is the boroughwide celebration and commemoration of the two World’s Fairs, but the Harvesting Our History project has a dual purpose,” Darcy wrote. “It is a project of visual storytelling that integrates the collaborative efforts of the designers and Queens Botanical Garden staff, particularly the Gallery Committee and World’s Fair Committee members. The Harvesting Our History exhibit celebrates the past and looks to the future of Queens Botanical Garden, the place where people, plants and cultures meet.”

If You Go

Harvesting Our History — The Story of Queens Botanical Garden

When: May 6 to Sept. 28, Tuesday to Saturday from 8 am - 5 pm, Sunday, 9 am - 5 pm

Where: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing

Cost: Included in garden admission — $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/students and children

Contact: (718) 886-3800

Website: www.queensbotanical.org

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