Botanic Garden Meise


History of science and archives

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Contact: Denis Diagre

PaddestoelThe history of Botanic Garden Meise is rooted in the XIXth Century. It treasures large quantities of archives of different kinds (letters, glass negatives, pictures, field notes…). These resources are of interest for both humanities and natural sciences. Furthermore, they deliver information to those involved in heritage conservation and in popularization of science.

Research in history of sciences brings some sort of an introspective point of view on scientific practices. The archives and other historical resources of the NBGB allow it to unveil how science was done, how concepts spread, or not, how ideas survive, or not, how the society put the scientists to strain or supported them, and how a scientific institution and politics are interlaced, sometimes… among other things. History of science can help the scientists to be more aware of who they were/are, what they did/do, why they did/do so… Tightly connected to this, history delivers extra data and opportunities to those in charge of popularization of science and education in the NBGB.

History and archive conservation may also help botanists in several disciplines that are favored in today’s botanic gardens, like systematics, nomenclature, nature conservation, invasive taxa and so on, in Belgium and elsewhere in the World. Archive delivers a vast array of important and often overlooked data for these kinds of researches, indeed. Interdisciplinarity is the keyword, here.

All in all, archive and history of science in a botanic garden, far from being a luxury, can help botanists not only in their researches and thoughts, but by also in delivering them opportunities to communicate with a broader audience, in a demanding democratic society.

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