Exhibition - Patios, Pools and the Invention of the American Backyard

Saturday, Apr 11, 2020 from 10:00am to 5:00pm


Explore the mid-20th century suburban housing boom in America and the subsequent rise of backyard living through Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard, a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition coming to the Chandler Museum this Spring Season.

In the 1950s, America was a nation emerging from the shadow of World War II, searching for ways to enjoy its newfound peace and prosperity. Postwar trends such as the baby boom, a growing middle class, the do-it-yourself concept and a dramatic rise in home ownership remade much of the U.S. and contributed to the development of the suburban backyard.

Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard reminds us of the sound of a mower on a Saturday afternoon, the sight of home grown flower gardens, pool parties and get-togethers on the patio, and the smell of hot dogs on the grill. The mid-century backyard became an extension of the house, a room designed for relaxing, recreation, and entertaining. Private backyard pools were an affordable luxury for many.

Companies produced an increasing number of products designed to lessen the burden of yard work. Imported and hybrid grasses, herbicides and pesticides, automated sprinkler systems, chemical sprayers and newly affordable lawn mowers began to appear in sheds and garages around the nation. Many contemporary backyards still boast the pristine lawn, low-maintenance plantings, patios, outdoor furniture, grills and play equipment that first emerged after World War II.

Drawing from the collections and research of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens, the exhibition features rare photographs, historic drawings and period advertisements. The collection has been organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard will be on display March 14 through May 24, 2020.

Find more information online at www.chandleraz.gov/museum, or by calling 480-782-2717.