Michael Dosmann named Keeper of the Living Collections of the Arnold Arboretum

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications
May 31, 2017


Michael Dosmann named Keeper of the Living Collections of the Arnold Arboretum


Keeper of the Living Collections Michael Dosmann

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is pleased to announce that it has named Dr. Michael S. Dosmann as Keeper of the Living Collections, a rare and (nearly) singular honor bestowed by the institution. Curator of the Living Collections at the Arboretum since 2007, Dr. Dosmann’s new title reflects his outstanding stewardship of the Arboretum’s renowned collection of woody plants over the past decade.

Dr. Dosmann is only the second “Keeper” in the 145-year history of the Arnold Arboretum. The first was Ernest Henry Wilson, the Arboretum’s famed plant explorer best known for his pioneering expeditions in early-twentieth-century China. Wilson held the title of “Keeper” from 1927 to 1930. Dr. Dosmann assumes the title as the Arboretum reinvigorates Wilson’s legacy and the institution’s role as a leader in global plant exploration.


Michael Dosmann (right) and Kyle Port (left) in the Dana Greenhouses, where seeds from their plant collecting trips are nurtured until they are ready to grow in the Arboretum landscape. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Recognized as a leading authority on collections management of botanical collections and a tireless advocate for public gardens, Dr. Dosmann curates more than 15,000 living accessioned plants on the grounds of the Arboretum. Under his leadership, the Arboretum has vastly improved systems and protocols for mapping, documenting, and inventorying Arboretum plants, which has influenced standards at botanical institutions nationwide. Since 2015, and in collaboration with Professor William (Ned) Friedman, the eighth Director of the Arnold Arboretum, Dr. Dosmann has led the Arboretum’s efforts to accelerate efforts to explore, inventory, and collect vanishing biodiversity worldwide—the Campaign for the Living Collections—mounting or participating in multiple collecting expeditions in Asia and North America.

Dr. Dosmann received his undergraduate degree in Public Horticulture from Purdue University (1996), and his Master’s degree (1998) and his Ph.D. (2006) from Iowa State University, and Cornell University, respectively, in Horticulture. He is the author of over 60 published articles, including 20 found within the covers of Arnoldia, the journal of the Arnold Arboretum. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Public Gardens Association, is an elected member of the Horticultural Club of Boston, and in 2014 was the on-air host of the three-part documentary Chinese Wilson produced by Central China Television.

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