Due to continuous episodes of burglary and vandalism, the Arnold Arboretum has permanently removed all outdoor donation boxes from its landscape. Thieves dismantled the five locked boxes originally located at entrance gates and along Arboretum roadways several times over the past two years, and seemingly escalated their efforts this spring. Although the boxes were duly repaired after previous incidents, Arboretum officials decided that regularly replacing compromised hardware for the boxes would be futile. Visitors to the Arboretum will still be able to make donations in person in the Hunnewell Building Visitor Center or online through the Arboretum’s website.
Specially designed for the landscape in the 1980s, the donation boxes were made of thick, durable metal and secured to the ground by cement. For decades, they provided a safe and secure way for visitors to contribute to the institution. The Arnold Arboretum is completely self-funded, relying on the past and present philanthropy of members, donors, and visitors to fund educational programming for the public and the ongoing collection, curation, and care of accessioned plants. Although the donation boxes did not provide a significant percentage of income, they offered a tangible way for visitors to show their appreciation of the Arboretum and its landscape. Sadly, after some 30 years of service, continuous and unfettered instances of burglary forced officials to eliminate this trusted avenue of visitor support.
The Arboretum has always played an important role in the local and global community, offering educational programs for children and adults, tours and events to engage visitors in horticulture and botany, and scholarship opportunities as an international center for the study of plants. Unlike many other botanic gardens, entrance to the Arboretum has always been and will always be free to all. At the start of a new era of plant exploration and horticultural preservation, it is vital that the community participates in making the Arboretum a safe and respected place for everyone.
Please help maintain safety at the Arboretum by reporting any criminal incidents or acts of vandalism to the Boston Police Department District E-13 (617-343-5630).
Visitors and advocates are encouraged to continue to support this beloved link in Boston’s Emerald Necklace by making a donation in the Visitor Center or by donating online.