Many visitors are surprised to learn that the Smithsonian Institution includes a number of outdoor museums. All have been designed to complement the museums they border and to enhance the overall museum experience of learning, appreciation, and enjoyment. From mid-April through September there are weekly garden tours available (weather permitting).
In the 1950s, America was a nation emerging from the shadow of World War II, searching for ways to enjoy its newfound peace and prosperity. The baby boom, a growing middle class, the do-it-yourself movement, and a dramatic rise in home ownership remade much of the U.S. and, surprisingly, contributed to the development of the suburban backyard. This traveling exhibit traces the rise of outdoor living through vivid photographs, landscape architecture plans, and popular culture imagery from magazines, advertisements, and how-to books.
Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard is a collaboration between Smithsonian Gardens’ Archives of American Gardens and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.