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Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants Module

Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants draws  on manuscript and print works from the rare book collection to situate Mee within a tradition of women botanical artists and illustrators  that stretches back to the seventeenth century. Portraits of Plants also interrogates the enduring interplay between art and science through a variety of media (botanical illustration, watercolor, photography) extending to the present day, with works by contemporary photographer Amy Lamb, scientific illustrator Alice  Tangerini, and botanical artist Nirupa Rao.

Online Exhibit

The online exhibition makes available the resources of the physical exhibition, provides digital tools to build new connections between the geographies and histories of featured artists and illustrators, and centralizes research both from the exhibition and work previously undertaken at Dumbarton Oaks. Learn more in a series of essays, interviews, and additional resources.

Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants

Centered on the paintings of botanical artist Margaret Mee, this exhibit explores the traditions of women botanical artists and illustrators primarily using materials from the Rare Book Collection.


Family Guide

Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants Family Guide

All ages | Explore botanical artworks with your family using this guide designed to enhance your visit or support children's learning at home with close looking, drawing, and writing activities.


Classroom Activities

Margaret Mee and the Amazon Lesson Plan

Grades 6–12 | Using the Heliconia plant species as a case study, students will explore an Amazon Rainforest ecosystem and the effects of deforestation.

AP World History Document-Based Question: Margaret Mee

Grades 10–12 | Prepare for the AP World History exam by using a sample DBQ that examines the role of artists, scientists, and other experts in response to the deforestation of the Amazon.


Hands-On Activities

Botanical Coloring Sheets

All ages | Bring nature inside with these coloring pages of plants, taken from works by botanical artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Read & Create: Zonia’s Rain Forest

Grades Pre-K–2 | Listen to the story “Zonia’s Rain Forest” and learn about ecosystems and botanical art by Margaret Mee. Explore ecosystems around you and gather leaves to create your own botanical prints! Available in English and Spanish.

Heliconia Pencil Topper Tutorial

Grades 4 and up | Learn about pollination and co-evolution with this paper craft tutorial.

Hummingbird Mobile Tutorial

Grades 6 and up | Learn about hummingbirds and the plant-bird relationship with this paper craft tutorial. Students will read about hummingbirds and create a hummingbird mobile by scientist and artist Amy Lamb.