10 April 1872

The first Arbor Day is celebrated in Nebraska.

The Spanish village of Mondoñedo held the first documented arbor plantation festival in the world organized by its mayor in 1594. The place remains as Alameda de los Remedios and it is still planted with lime and horse-chestnut trees. A humble granite marker and a bronze plate recall the event. Additionally, the small Spanish village of Villanueva de la Sierra held the first modern Arbor Day, an initiative launched in 1805 by the local priest with the enthusiastic support of the entire population.

While Napoleon was ravaging Europe with his ambition in this village in the Sierra de Gata lived a priest, don Juan Abern Samtrés, which, according to the chronicles, “convinced of the importance of trees for health, hygiene, decoration, nature, environment and customs, decides to plant trees and give a festive air. The festival began on Carnival Tuesday with the ringing of two bells of the church, and the Middle and the Big. After the Mass, and even coated with church ornaments, don Juan, accompanied by clergies, teachers and a large number of neighbours, planted the first tree, a poplar, in the place known as Valley of the Ejido. Tree plantations continued by Arroyada and Fuente de la Mora. Afterwards, there was a feast, and did not miss the dance. The party and plantations lasted three days. He drafted a manifesto in defence of the trees that was sent to surrounding towns to spread the love and respect for nature, and also he advised to make tree plantations in their localities.
—Miguel Herrero Uceda, Arbor Day

The first American Arbor Day was originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton. On April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska.

Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut was responsible for globalizing the idea when he visited Japan in 1883 and delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. In that same year, the American Forestry Association made Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. He also brought his enthusiasm for Arbor Day to Australia, Canada, and Europe.

20 February 1872

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially “the Met”, is the largest art museum in the United States. With 7.06 million visitors to its three locations in 2016, it was the third most visited art museum in the world, and the fifth most visited museum of any kind. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan ‘s Upper East Side is by area one of the world’s largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; it extends the museum’s modern and contemporary art program.

The permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings, and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanian, Byzantine, and Islamic art. The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes, and accessories, as well as antique weapons and armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from first-century Rome through modern American design, are installed in its galleries.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 for the purposes of opening a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, and was originally located at 681 Fifth Avenue.

20 February 1872

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City.

One hundred and forty years ago, on February 20, 1872, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors to the public for the first time. When the Museum was founded two years earlier, it had no building and no artwork, but the institution’s Trustees moved quickly to assemble the nucleus of its now-encyclopedic art collection, notably through the acquisition of a group of 174 old-master paintings that became known as the “Purchase of 1871”. One year later, in 1872, the Trustees secured the Museum’s first exhibition space when they signed a $9,000, one-year lease for the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets. The building had formerly served as a private residence and a dance academy.

Museum President John Taylor Johnston wrote a vivid account of the Museum’s opening reception: “We had a fine turnout of ladies and gentlemen and all were highly pleased. The pictures looked splendid, and compliments were so plenty and strong that I was afraid the mouths of the Trustees would become chronically and permanently fixed in a broad grin … We may now consider the Museum fairly launched and under favorable auspices… We have something to point to as the Museum, something tangible and something good.”

Three months later, the Museum’s first superintendent, George P. Putnam, reported that over six thousand visitors had viewed the Metropolitan’s opening exhibition, “including Artists, Students, Critics, and Amateurs from other cities and especially a considerable number of visitors from Boston.” A notable reviewer of the opening show was author Henry James—then twenty-eight years old and still little known—who observed that through the Purchase of 1871 “the Metropolitan Museum of Art has an enviably solid foundation for future acquisition and development.” James also praised “the altogether exemplary and artistic Catalogue” that accompanied the exhibition.

The Museum remained in its first home until 1873, when it moved to larger quarters in the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. In 1880, the Metropolitan opened its first building at its current location in Central Park.

10 April 1872

The first Arbor Day is celebrated in Nebraska.

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The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan. Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture. But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.

Morton felt that Nebraska’s landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees. He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and he urged his neighbours to follow suit. Morton’s real opportunity, though, arrived when he became a member of Nebraska’s state board of agriculture. He proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. Nebraska’s first Arbor Day was an amazing success. More than one million trees were planted. A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton’s birthday.

In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton’s idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days. Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries including Australia.