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University Archives & Special Collections Exhibits

The Shape of Orchids: An Eternal Love Affair

August 19, 2021 - December 3, 2021 

The Florida Gulf Coast University Archives and Special Collections presents The Shape of Orchids: An Eternal Love Affair for Fall 2021. Orchids are considered to be one of the most coveted of ornamental plants with their exotic, graceful, and delicate form. The orchid has, for many centuries, been a symbol of love, luxury, beauty, and strength. 

The exhibition will celebrate the Porecki Collection, named after Daniel and Mary Alice Porecki, in a new Victorian-esque narrative. Their own love affair began the moment they set eyes on each other – fueled by their mutual passion for horticulture. From the moment the Poreckis bought their first orchid, there was no turning back. Africa, Costa Rica and Jamaica are only a few of the many incredible destinations they traveled to collect new specimens. Their love of live plants encouraged a new passion: collecting orchid-related treasures from flea markets and antique stores. The Poreckis lived by their own rules – traveling, gardening, caring for family, and collecting were the staples of their incredible, orchid-fueled life together. 

The Shape of Orchids highlights rare prints dating back to the early 17th century, a collection of stamps from across the globe, and Neil Gaiman’s Black Orchid comics donated by Porecki in 2016. The exhibition also features rare books from our permanent collection, Clyde Butcher photographs, handcrafted botanical wallpapers, local herbarium specimens, and living orchid walls on loan from the Naples Botanical Gardens. 

 The Shape of Orchids Exhibit Poster