This story, written by Kelly Simmons, was originally published on UGA Today on May 11, 2022.
With the snip of a red ribbon, a cheer and a lot of smiles, State Botanical Garden of Georgia donors, faculty and staff watched as UGA leaders officially dedicated the garden’s newest additions: the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum, Discovery and Inspiration Garden, and accessible main entrance.
“The new facilities and gardens are transformative,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, garden director. “They increase accessibility, provide for an enhanced experience at the garden and will attract new audiences to the garden and UGA. Each also helps guide us in understanding the important role that nature plays in our lives.”
The museum was a longtime dream of garden board member and donor Deen Day Sanders, who donated her 50-year collection of porcelain and art from around the world to the garden.
“The university remains deeply grateful for Mrs. Sanders’ vision, determination and the help that she provided in getting others to contribute to this important project,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Her efforts extended beyond the museum itself as she thoughtfully considered the area surrounding it and how we were going to make the museum and garden accessible for so many others.”
The pieces on display in the museum highlight how art is inspired by flowers, butterflies, birds and all aspects of nature. The two-story building includes beautiful gallery spaces as well as a large classroom that opens onto the display gardens to enrich the learning experience.
Located on a hill behind the museum, the accessible entrance includes an elevator from the parking lots.
The Discovery and Inspiration Garden surrounds and extends beyond the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum, inviting visitors of all ages to explore and discover.
Narrow beds of plants at the eye level of every visitor invite close viewing, and a pond supports a range of fauna, including frogs and dragonflies. The Discovery and Inspiration Garden features native plants for pollinators and educates visitors about the interrelationships between birds, insects and plants. The garden also includes a lawn where outdoor classes and events can be held.
“These projects represent a significant milestone in the garden’s history,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach, which oversees the garden. “They will, no doubt, open many educational opportunities for faculty and students and citizens from across Georgia.”
Donors to the accessible entrance project included Deen Day Sanders and the Day family, the Callaway Foundation, James B. Miller Jr., Mike and Betty DeVore, Tom B. Wight, The Garden Club of Georgia Inc. and donors from across Georgia. Chuck and Suzanne Murphy provided support for the Discovery and Inspiration Garden.
“Today is a day of jubilation,” Deen Day Sanders said. “I can say that I’m grateful to all those who made it happen. It wasn’t about the vision, but the completion of the museum for the garden and to have it open to the public, for people to come to see it and enjoy it.”
The Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. For more information about the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, visit botgarden.uga.edu.
Learn more about the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum.