The Arboretum has grown from Mr. Joy Morton’s 175-acre site on his country estate to 1,700 acres of tree collections, gardens, and natural landscapes that it is today.
Today marks 99 years since Chicagoland’s beloved Morton Arboretum was first established back on December 14, 1922. To celebrate such an occasion, the 1,700-acre tree museum and research center is kicking off a yearlong centennial celebration building up to its 100th birthday. To mark the exact date of the Arboretum’s founding, it will today offer free admission for those who reserve tickets at mortonarb.org.
The Arboretum also plans to announce the extension of its popular Human+Nature exhibition which will continue through March 2023. Two new large-scale sculptures and a commemorative centennial sculpture by artist Daniel Popper will be added to the exhibition in May bringing the total number of colossal sculptures to 8.
“For 100 years, The Morton Arboretum has played an essential role in helping people understand the many benefits of trees, and how to plant and protect them for a sustainable future,” said Arboretum President and CEO Gerard T. Donnelly, Ph.D. “Trees improve people’s lives and contribute to their wellbeing. They beautify communities and make them more livable. The Arboretum gives people the opportunity to connect with trees, appreciate them and experience their myriad benefits.”
True to its mission, another highlight of the centennial celebrations will be the April launch of the Arboretum’s 1,000-tree Centennial Tree Planting Initiative in the seven-county Chicago region. April of 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, the tree-planting holiday that originated with the Morton family, and to celebrate the Arboretum will plant 1,000 trees.
Another anticipated event in the year to come will be the opening of a lush, colorful new feature, The Grand Garden. Construction began on The Grand Garden in June 2021 and when it opens the new 2-acre garden will showcase the beauty and diversity of plants and create meaningful gathering spaces for people. So far $14.2 million has been raised to fund the new garden.
There will also be a series of programs and events planned throughout the centennial year including children’s activities and adult classes which can be found at mortonarb.org.