R.I. Historical Society Welcomes Smithsonian???s Brown for Goff Lecture

Horticulture Collections Manager to Present ???Archives of American Gardens???

D RIHS Untitled design

PROVIDENCE, R.I. ??? Since the time of the ???founding gardeners,??? gardeners and gardens have played an important role in shaping American culture. Today, amid a renewed interest in greening our communities and our own back yards, gardens continue to help us understand the American experience.


At the Rhode Island Historical Society???s 2018 Newell D. Goff Lecture, attendees will discover how Smithsonian Gardens is conserving American garden history with more than 150,000 photographs and documents. The Archives of American Gardens inspires new ways of interpreting garden history and design so that America???s rich garden heritage can be better understood, appreciated, and enjoyed today and in the future. Cynthia Brown, Smithsonian Gardens’ Manager of Horticulture Collections and Education, will share the interesting work that is being done and how green thumbs can add their own garden story to Smithsonian Gardens??? digital archive ??? the Community of Gardens.


???As a Smithsonian Affiliate, we???re honored to be able to host this distinguished guest from the Smithsonian Gardens for our signature lecture,??? said Geralyn Ducady, Director of the RIHS???s Goff Center for Education and Public Programs. ???Although much work goes into gardening, it???s also a leisurely hobby for many, of course, and this talk on garden history and American culture was chosen as a perfect fit for our 2018 programming theme: R&R in Rhode Island.???


The Newell D. Goff Lecture and reception is free and open to the public, with advance registration at or by calling (401) 331-8575 x360.


Brown has served in her position at Smithsonian Gardens since 2010. She leads a talented team overseeing Smithsonian Gardens??? archives, object and living collections, education, and web/social media. She has worked in the field of horticulture since 1993, beginning her career in a nursery and discovering the world of public gardens. Currently, she says, her most exciting project is the development of the Community of Gardens initiative, a website and mobile app for sharing stories about gardens and green spaces and cultivating a deeper understanding, and appreciation of, the role gardens play in keeping communities healthy, happy, and connected. Brown holds a BS in Gerontology from Lycoming College and an AAS in Horticulture from Northern Virginia Community College.


Last year???s Goff Lecture featured Susan Evans McClure, former Director of Food History Programs at the Smithsonian Institution???s National Museum of American History. In 2016, Jeffrey E. Post, Curator-in-Charge of the Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, discussed the Hope Diamond.

About the Rhode Island Historical Society

Founded in 1822, the RIHS, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is the fourth-oldest historical society in the United States and is Rhode Island???s largest and oldest historical organization. In Providence, the RIHS owns and operates the John Brown House Museum, a designated National Historic Landmark, built in 1788; the Aldrich House, built in 1822 and used for administration and public programs; and the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center, where archival, book and image collections are housed. In Woonsocket, the RIHS manages the Museum of Work and Culture, a community museum examining the industrial history.