The Quest for Longitude
Discover the extraordinary story of the race to determine longitude at sea
Discover the extraordinary nautical instruments that led to maritime history’s greatest scientific breakthrough.
For hundreds of years, European merchants staked their fortunes on long-distance voyages. Travel at sea was dangerous and safe passage relied on fair weather and effective navigation. Unlike on land, the sea has no fixed points to help seamen determine their position. This could lead to unnecessarily long voyages or the loss of ships, cargo and life.
Travelling from the National Maritime Museum, London, this award-winning exhibition tells the story of the search for better ways of navigating by finding longitude – distance east and west. It was a problem that had frustrated the greatest minds since the late 1400s. Three hundred years ago the first Longitude Act offered life-changing rewards for workable solutions. Eventually two emerged – using clocks and stars – which cracked the longitude problem and helped re-shape our understanding of the world.
‘The display is often breathtakingly beautiful: early instruments of sculptural beauty, brass shining through the dimness, revered original documents, arching glass globes and artful video displays.’
– Libby Purves, The Times
Open daily, 9.30am–5pm, from 5 May 2016
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This beautifully illustrated book is the official publication of the exhibition and unravels in detail the stories behind how the longitude problem was solved. Buy the book >>
Exhibition produced by the National Maritime Museum, London
Ships, Clocks and Stars was supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) Program. This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Treasures of the American Collection
Extended to 6:00 pm in January
Last boarding time for Submarine and Tall Ships – 4.10pm
Closed Christmas Day 25 December.
+61 2 9298 3777
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© Copyright 2013
Australia National Maritime Museum
Every day 9.30 am - 5 pm
Extend to 6.00 pm in January
Closed Xmas Day 25 Dec.
2 Murrey Street
sydney NSW 2000, AU
+61 2 9298 3777