Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Desire of Botany

By Vanessa Nesvig
Coordinator of Special Projects

Coming up this spring, we have a book club meeting featuring Michael Pollan’s book The Botany of Desire. I read this book close to 10 years ago, being a huge fan of this now famous writer. His witty and enlightening insights, as he describes his subject, make everything he writes very entertaining. In this book, he presents what was a new concept for me at the time…that plants might choose US for their propagation and gene advancement, instead of the other way around. He uses as examples, four plants and how they use their traits to appeal to us: the apple its sweetness, the tulip its beauty, the potato its nutrition, and cannabis, which mimics our own natural endorphins to attract us. So instead of adapting to soil and weather environments, these plants have made themselves so attractive to us that we feel compelled to cultivate them. Wow, it gives one a whole new perspective on gardening! I can’t wait to read this book again and talk with all of you about it. This discussion will be a great precursor to viewing our Objects of Wonder exhibition. Hope you can join us!

Book Group: The Botany of Desire
Thursday, May 20
Free with Museum admission
Noon to 1 p.m.

Biennial Technology

By Sage Lewis
Assistant Curator

When I started working at the Museum in 2006, the Biennial was in a process of switching from slide submissions (remember those? that used real color film??!!) to digital images. Now—two Biennials and four years later—we can’t imagine using slides again. We are now adding another notch to our technology belt: online submissions. That’s right, no more burning images to CD, using an envelope, and mailing through the postal service. The process is, for the most part, paperless, and hopefully also seamless for everyone using it. We’ve been working hard these past few months to build and test the application on our website, www.portlandmuseum.org/biennial and I’m pleased to announce that as of today, we are LIVE!

So, apply away! You have until midnight on June 14, 2010 to complete the application.