Smithsonian Orchid Exhibit 2024

The Future of Orchids

I finally made it to the Smithsonian Gardens 2024 Orchid Exhibit! This year’s exhibit, in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden, is located in the Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Museum in downtown Washington DC. The 2024 theme is “The Future of Orchids: Conservation and Collaboration,” and the (free!) exhibit runs through April 28. If you’re an orchid fan in the area, this is a must-see!

Smithsonian Orchid Exhibit 2024

The Kogod Courtyard is always a lovely spot for the orchid exhibit, which is in a different location each year; last year’s exhibit was at the USBG (also lovely). We visited on an overcast afternoon, but because the space has a large atrium ceiling, there’s still plenty of light streaming in for good photos—even when the sun is hiding.

I took so many photos of beautiful orchids that I decided to present them as a slideshow instead of creating a really, really long blog post. You can click through the slideshow below (there are about 40 pics):

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The Zygopetalums, as always, were some of my favorites. I really loved the wide variety of orchids in the exhibit this year, encompassing teeny tiny blooms to human-sized plants like the Bulbophyllum I posed next to in the slideshow. I didn’t get any photos of teensy orchid blooms, unfortunately. Many of them were located too deep in the displays for me to reach for decent photos. But some of the tiniest blooms I saw were maybe a centimeter in size! So cute.

Orchids as Art

I also took photos of some of the art sculptures created by Phaan Howng that are scattered throughout the exhibit. These brightly colored, mixed-media sculptures are larger-than-life pieces inspired by different orchid varieties.

Model of Vanda phaarulea:

Model of Vanda phaarulea by Phaan Howng

Model of Lycaste phaanalis:

Model of Lycaste phaanalis

Prototype for a Possible Herbarium Specimen of Encyclia phaantempensis:

Prototype for a Possible HerbariumSpecimen of Encyclia phaantempensis by Phaan Howng

Oh, That’s How it Works! Model of Anguloa clifonii & Eulaema bee pollinator:

Oh, That’s How it Works!Model of Anguloa clifonii & Eulaema bee pollinator by Phaan Howng

Model of Psychopsis phaansteegiana:

Model of Psychopsis phaansteegiana by Phaan Howng

Model of Phaanlaenopsis:

Model of Phaanlaenopsis by Phaan Howng

I’m so happy we finally went to the orchid exhibit! I know I always say this, but I do recommend stopping by the exhibit, especially if you happen to be in downtown DC. The Kogod Courtyard is such a nice oasis made even better by the addition of hundreds of orchids. Bonus: entry to the exhibit and attached museums is free!

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