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Charles Darwin – voyages and ideas that shook the world

caption:<i>Charles Darwin</i> 1840 by George Richmond, chalk and watercolour Darwin Heirlooms Trust.

Charles Darwin - voyages and ideas that shook the world

Past exhibition 

In the 200th anniversary year of Charles Darwin's birth and 150 years after the publication of his famous evolutionary theory On the Origin of Species, join Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle on the voyage of a lifetime. Explore the world of Darwin and his colleagues and see how their work continues on new scientific frontiers.

At the age of 22 Charles Darwin seemed destined to become a clergyman when in 1831 he was given an opportunity to sail to South America on the small survey vessel HMS Beagle. The five year voyage exposed the young Darwin to the stunning nature of the world, triggering ideas that would come to explain the origin of life on earth and shake society to its core. The Beagle voyage proved the seminal event in Charles Darwin's career, setting him on a path to become the most famous naturalist of the modern era.

Darwin's account of the Beagle voyage inspired other naturalists to join survey expeditions exploring the world. Two of these, Joseph Hooker and Thomas Huxley were influenced by their experiences in Australia and went on to become Darwin's staunchest supporters during the evolution debate and pivotal figures in the world of 19th century science. 

Charles Darwin - Voyages and ideas that shook the world incorporates material from diverse collections including the British Museum, the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales.

View watercolours that vividly record the places and people encountered by voyage artists. Examine specimens and artefacts collected during a series of ground-breaking surveying voyages.

See how Darwin lived aboard the Beagle and hear his first impressions of a tropical rainforest.  Learn how the Beagle's captain Robert FitzRoy is linked to modern weather forecasting.

Admire the craft of model making in our specially commissioned ship model of HMS Beagle or get close and personal with insect-eating plants in Darwin's glasshouse!


Exhibition shown at Australian National Maritime Museum 20 March 2009 - 23 August 2009

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