This booklet accompanies the exhibition "The Many Lives of Herbaria" at the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva, which is running form March 2017 to December 2018. It gives information about the history of the herbarium of Geneva and its main collections as well as insights into its management as a dynamic research facility. Answers to the questions visitors frequently ask are given under the FAQ section. Finally a small glossary is included at the end of the booklet.
The Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva holds a herbarium of unmatched richness, the result of a botanical tradition dating to the end of the eighteenth century. This dynamic collection, ever in motion, is used daily by researchers from around the world to study, understand and protect the world of plants and fungi.
The placing of dried plants in herbaria is a practice that goes back to the 16th century. It quickly became evident that it is the simplest way to study them without the constraints of time or space. During the era of great exploration, the practice became widespread, having as its ambition a truly titanic endeavor: describing and classifying the world of plants and mushrooms in its entirety. This is the first life of herbaria.
Owing to technological advances, herbaria reveal themselves to hold new information which earlier botanists certainly could not have imagined. It is these many lives of herbaria which this exhibition offers for your discovery.