The Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden is a garden of sculptures run by the Smithsonian Institution as part of The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC. In the 1960s Joseph H. Hirshhorn donated part of his art collection to the museum, after his death in 1981, he willed another six thousand items.
A couple of Sundays ago I drove one hundred and seventeen miles from Delaware to Washington DC to see the White House. The trip would have been a complete disappointment except I stumbled across the Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden. There were some eye-catching works in the sculpture garden, but the most memorable ‘work of art’ for me was the ‘Wish Tree for Washington DC‘ by Yoko Ono.
The ‘Wish Tree for Washington DC’ is a white-flowering Japanese dogwood donated by Yoko Ono in 2007. The Hirshhorn Wish Tree is one of many around the world but is the only permanent tree in the United States. Visitors are encouraged to whisper their wishes to the tree or write their wishes on paper tags and hang them on the tree (From July 1 through October 4). The museum staff will collect the wishes and send them to become part of Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.
“The participatory nature of the Wish Tree creates a sense of unity, inspiring the thousands who come from around the world to take part in the piece,” said Melissa Chiu, the museum’s director. “Through such a simple act as wishing, we experience a collective, and powerful, hope for the future.” [Smithsonian Website]
The sculpture garden is more than the Wishing Tree, as it boasts more than twenty sculptures from artists from Europe and North America. Some of the works date back as far as the 1880s.