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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
Stem: 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)
Flower: 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of the Alpine Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis Alpestris). Two clusters of delicate flowers on green stems connecting to larger stem with leaves spaced throughout the top half of the stem. The blossoms each have five blue petals with a white center and tiny yellow stamen.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
ALASKA: The Alpine Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis Alpestris) was designated the official state flower of Alaska in 1949, however it was originally adopted in 1907, before Alaska was a state or a territory. The "Grand Igloo," an organization of pioneers that had arrived in Alaska before 1900, were the first to choose the Alpine Forget-Me-Not as a symbol of the Alaskan region. After Alaska had been given authorization to set up a territorial government with limited powers, the people remained faithful to their favorite flower and made it the official emblem of the territory in 1917. When Alaska entered the union as the 49th state in 1959, they brought the Alpine Forget-Me-Not with them, designating it as the official state flower and floral emblem. Alpine Forget-Me-Nots are a wild, native perennials that grow throughout Alaska’s high altitude meadows and in the rocky places of the mountains. They are found blooming, along with the Splendid Forget-Me-Not and Mountain Forget-Me-Not from late June to late July. The flowers grow in small clumps and give off little or no scent in the daytime, but become very fragrant in the evening and night time. This Alaskan flower belongs to one of the few plant families that exhibit true blue color in their blossoms. It is so tied to the state and its history that its blue color is said to have inspired the blue background of the state flag.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Alaska  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens