National History Museum, London
We visited the Darwin exhibition at the Natural History Museum over the Easter weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although not the largest, most expansive exhibition I've been to they have done an excellent job highlighting the most relevant parts of Charles Darwin's work.
The exhibition starts with a step by step account of his amazing 5 year journey on the HMS Beagle at the age of 21. It highlights a number of the more renowned finds and theories that the naturalist formulated on his travels. Using stunning examples and original excerpts from the vast amount of letters he sent home they manage to portray the evidence Darwin collected that would eventually lead to his revolutionary discovery.
To me that famous journey of discovery is the stuff of dreams. Can you imagine stepping on board a ship that is going to sail around the world, you're 21 and for the next few years you're going to sail the seas, see the most exotic locations documenting all and every species you can lay your eyes on? Back in the 19th Century there was still such an incredible amount of undiscovered flora and fauna, it must have been a truly awe inspiring adventure.
The exhibition then takes you through Darwin's thought process at the time, his day to day life at his home in the English countryside and the early stages of him piecing together his crowning glory, 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection'.
Unfortunately the exhibition is now no longer showing at the museum however in celebrating Darwin's 200th birthday, a number of related exhibitions will be on display throughout 2009 including the opening of the Darwin Centre, a new museum building, in September.