Archives of American Gardens

Collecting, preserving, and providing access to cultural and ecological resources that document private and public landscapes in America

Buttrick Mansion Sculptural OrnamentsEstablished in 1987, the Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to photographic images and records documenting the evolution of gardens and landscapes throughout the United States. As of 2017, its holdings include over 100,000 images and supplemental files across over forty collections.

Explore the Collections Online

Archives of American Gardens collection records are made publicly available in the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives and Smithsonian's Collections Search Center.

Archives of American Gardens records can be searched by garden type or style, garden name, landscape designer, geographic location, date and/or photographer. Visit the Smithsonian's Collections Search Center Tutorial for more search tips.

A Guide to the Archives of American Gardens Collections provides a list view of all the collections. Finding aids to select collections are available in the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives.

Recent Acquisitions

The Archives of American Gardens collaborates each year with members of the Garden Club of America to document gardens across the United States.

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011| 2012| 2013| 2014| 2015| 2016| 2017 | 2018

Research & Reference Services

The Archives serves the needs of researchers, historians, preservationists, designers, students, and other interested members of the public by preserving relevant images and records and making them available for research use and publication.

Visit the Archives

Email or call 202-633-5840 to make a research appointment to view collections in person. Many holdings are stored off-site, so appointments must be scheduled at least one week in advance to allow staff sufficient time to retrieve specific items related to your request.

Reference Room Hours: 10 A. M. to 4:00 P. M. Monday-Friday, by appointment only.

Location: The Archives of American Gardens is located at Capital Gallery Building West, 600 Maryland Ave, SW, one block south of the National Mall on the corner of Maryland Avenue and 7th Street. Capital Gallery is located immediately outside the L’Enfant Metro station (Blue, Yellow, Green, or Orange subway lines) – Smithsonian Museums exit. The Archives is located inside the headquarters for Smithsonian Gardens on the third floor (Suite 3300).

Reproductions and Permission to Publish

All image reproductions and publication permissions must be requested in writing. After contacting an Archives staff member with your request, Image Duplication and Permission Request Form and Permission to Publish Form (if applicable) must be submitted.

Low-resolution - First 3 images or contact sheets are free. $15 per subsequent image or contact sheet

High-resolution - $30 per image

Plans or oversized materials and rush orders - $60 per item

Payment for reproductions and any applicable use fees are required in advance. Please allow up to two weeks to process an order. Payment may be received by credit card or check.

Any reproductions provided to a researcher should not itself be reproduced or transferred to any other person or institution without the written permission of the Archives of American Gardens.

Researchers are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions from the photographer, garden owner, and/or any other rights holder before reproducing or publishing any material from Archives.

Credit Line

Researchers are required to use the following credit line when citing or publishing records from AAG: Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, [Collection Name].


The Archives of American Gardens encourages the reproduction of archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under fair use as defined by copyright law. Please see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for use of content found Smithsonian websites and online catalogs.

Garden Design Highlights

Formal Garden

The photographs in the AAG highlight such features as garden furniture and ornamentation, fountains, sculptures, fences and gates, parterres, and garden structures. The design styles represented range from large Italianate estates to herb and rose gardens, cottage and patio gardens, xeriscapes, and community gardens.

explore Gardens on the smithsonian Collections Blog

The Smithsonian's Collections Blog uncovers hidden collections across the Smithsonian, including garden related objects, books, and archival materials.

AsK A Reference Question

Have a research question, need to request an image or make an appointment to visit the archives? Please email or call to speak with a staff member.


Telephone: (202) 633-5840

DONATing materials

The Archives seeks to collect archival materials that aid in the study and interpretation the history of American gardens and horticulture. Of particular interest are:

  • historic gardens (Victorian gardens, World's Fair gardens, war and victory gardens)
  • healing gardens (Veterans' gardens and therapeutic gardens)
  • gardens designed by women landscape practitioners
  • the work of garden photographers


Archives of American Gardens
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Capital Gallery West, Suite 3300, MRC 506
Washington, DC   20013-7012