DAVENPORT, IOWA (April 5, 2022) — Nearly 90% of flowering plants rely on approximately 200,000 species of animal pollinators for fertilization. Smithsonian Gardens and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service present Pollination Investigation, an exhibition that explores the who, what, when, where, why, and how of pollination by interpreting the unique relationship between pollinators and flowers. High-interest and informational Smithsonian-provided posters, as well as specimens from the Putnam’s herbarium, are on display at the Putnam Museum and Science Center, a Smithsonian affiliate.

Pollination Investigation showcases how pollinators are vital for a strong ecosystem as most plants need their help to fertilize flowers and reproduce. The exhibition features seven “pollinator profiles” for bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, flies, moths, and wind. Using a field-journal theme, each profile describes the pollinators’ favorite flowers based on floral characteristics encouraging exploration into flower shape, color, scent, and more. The exhibition is bilingual (English and Spanish) and designed to educate and inspire people to explore the natural world looking at flowers and insects.

The Putnam’s Botany Collection (or herbarium) contains close to 20,000 specimens, over half of which were collected before 1900. This exhibition is embellished with a small selection of herbarium specimens from the collection.

“We love customizing exhibits to showcase the Putnam’s glorious collection,” says Rachael Mullins, CEO and President of the Putnam. “With spring just around the corner and the Scott County Master Gardener’s Pollinators’ Palooza coming up in May, the timing of this exhibit couldn’t be better!”

Exhibit admission is included in the price of general admission — $9 for adults, $8 for youth (ages 3-18), seniors, college students, and military. Through the Putnam’s Museums for All program, admission is $1 per person for households with the presentation of an EBT card. Admission is free for members.

For more information, visit https://www.putnam.org/exhibits/pollination-investigation. For groups, or to plan your visit, call 563-324-1933.

Pollination Investigation was created by Smithsonian Gardens in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural History and made available by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. It is funded in part by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

About Smithsonian Gardens

Since its inception in 1972, Smithsonian Gardens has extended the Smithsonian’s museum experience in a public-garden setting, inspiring visitors with exceptional displays and educating them about horticulture, plants, the natural and build environments, and artistic design. Its research and educational programs promote the ongoing development of collections of living plants, garden documentation, and horticultural artifacts. Smithsonian Gardens is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information, visit the Smithsonian Gardens website.

About the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington DC for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play.  For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

About the Putnam

The Putnam Museum brings to life a sense of place, time, and purpose to ignite human potential and inspire our diverse community to learn about and care for our world and all its people. For more than 150 years, guests have experienced the Putnam’s permanent exhibits ranging from Unearthing Ancient Egypt to our family-favorite science galleries, as well as an array of programs and internationally-recognized traveling exhibits. The Putnam is dedicated to helping guests discover and explore in a friendly and engaging atmosphere.

For more information about events and exhibits, visit www.putnam.org.

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