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National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

Park Row
SE10 9NF
Telephone: 020 8858 4422
Fax: 020 8312 6521
Opening Hours
Daily 1000-1700
Closed 11 May & 24-26 December

The Beagle Voyages: from Earth to Mars 06/12/2002 - 07/09/2003

THE BEAGLE VOYAGES: FROM EARTH TO MARS – A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM A new exhibition linking two great voyages of exploration and discovery opened at the National Maritime Museum on 6 December 2002. 2003’s Beagle 2 mission to Mars is the inspiration for The Beagle Voyages – from Earth to Mars, an exhibition linking the space mission back to Charles Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle in the early 19thcentury. For their time, both ‘Beagles’ represent the state-of the-art in the field. The name ‘Beagle’ is synonymous with the British tradition for exploration and was a natural choice for the forthcoming mission to Mars. Beagle 2 will be launched to the red planet in May 2003 and land around Christmas time in 2003. Its task is to analyse samples from the Martian surface to seek signs of past or present life, as part of the European Space Agency Mars Express Mission. A recording by the band Blur will act as the call sign when the lander reaches Mars, and original art by Damien Hirst will be the calibration target for Beagle 2’s instruments and the first art to land on another planet. Key exhibits in The Beagle Voyages will be scientific instruments from HMS Beagle, specimens collected and sent back from South America by Charles Darwin, animation illustrating how Beagle 2 will get to Mars and Beagle 2 designs (from the very first drawing to the latest model). Exhibition themes include navigating, surveying, technology and materials, scientific instrumentation and our perception of alien life. The final section will encourage visitors to leave their thoughts about the possibility of life on Mars, as part of the exhibition display. ‘It’s a wild scheme, nothing will come of it’, young Charles Darwin was told as he planned to set sail aboard HMS Beagle in 1831. The outcome of the voyage, Darwin’s theory of evolution, is well known but the ship herself has attracted less attention. The exhibition will throw some light on HMS Beagle, featuring objects from the collections of the National Maritime Museum and other important sources, including some private collections, many of which have never been on public display. Beagle 2 Lead Scientist, Professor Colin Pillinger, said: ‘We named the Mars lander in honour of HMS Beagle and we are delighted to be able to work with the National Maritime Museum to show how the challenges faced nearly two hundred years ago are not so different now as we attempt to extend our horizons.’ Roy Clare, Director of the National Maritime Museum, which includes the Royal Observatory, said: ‘The exhibition will bring together sea, ships, time and the stars, our four subjects as represented in our world-class collections. This unique show will link the galleries in the Museum with those of the Observatory, reflecting the influence of great voyages on the tradition of heroic exploration, once by sea and now manifest in space. We are delighted to be honouring the two Beagles and to be working with Professor Colin Pillinger and his team; we admire their pioneering spirit, of which Darwin himself would have approved. ’

Elizabeth 01/05/2003 - 14/09/2003

ELIZABETH, SPONSORED BY MORGAN STANLEY, A MAJOR EXHIBITION AT THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM WITH GUEST CURATOR DR DAVID STARKEY THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF PERSONAL ITEMS, PAINTINGS AND ELIZABETH-RELATED EXHIBITS EVER ASSEMBLED Elizabeth I’s first speech as Queen will be one of the star exhibits in Elizabeth, an international exhibition opening at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, on 1 May 2003 and commemorating the 400th anniversary of her death. The speech, addressed to her Secretary Sir William Cecil and the Lords of Mary’s Council, was delivered by Elizabeth three days after the death of her sister. In it, the new Queen speaks of her determination to rule ‘by guidance and counsel’. The document has been kindly loaned to the Museum by the Public Record Office. Elizabeth was born at Greenwich and spent her first months at Greenwich Palace, birthplace of Henry VIII, on the site of what is now the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The exhibition brings together a wealth of paintings, manuscripts, fine art objects and personal effects that illuminate Elizabeth’s fascinating story. It will appeal to everyone interested in Elizabeth I, Tudor England, the genesis of British Empire and the history of a nation with the sea at its heart. Among items selected for the exhibition is an exquisite mother of pearl, ruby and diamond ring, containing miniature busts of the Queen and her mother, Anne Boleyn, who was executed when Elizabeth was two years old. The exhibition will also feature an orpharion (musical instrument similar to a lute) made for Elizabeth and the only one surviving in the world (private lender); a fine chalk drawing of Anne Boleyn by Holbein (The Royal Collection); and the most remarkable collection of rarely seen portraits of Elizabeth assembled in one exhibition. Object loans have been agreed with museums, institutions and many private collections across Europe and beyond. The guest curator will be Dr David Starkey, whose television series and books have met with huge popular and critical acclaim. He says: ‘The exhibition will present an evocative account of a young Princess who overcame all the odds to become one of England’s most successful monarchs. Many of the 340 objects to be shown at Greenwich have never previously been displayed in public and convey the highs and lows of Elizabeth’s dramatic life.’ A key theme will be the importance of Elizabeth's seafaring adventurers and their role in creating wealth for the crown through burgeoning maritime enterprise. The exhibition will also illustrate the relationship between the Queen and the City of London, a place that markedly increased in influence during her reign, establishing a mercantile tradition that resounds four hundred years on. Roy Clare, Director of the National Maritime Museum, comments: ‘Elizabeth I was an astute ruler and patron of early English maritime expansion. She stabilised England while Europe raged with ideological conflicts, defied the might of the powerful Spanish Empire and supported first steps in new world colonisation. We relish the opportunity to tell the story of this remarkable woman, by staging a world-class exhibition in her birthplace, drawing upon our own rich collections and including international loans of exceptional quality. We are delighted to be sponsored by Morgan Stanley, a global market leader of a calibre wholly appropriate to this unique subject.’ Stephan Newhouse, Chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said: ‘Morgan Stanley has a long tradition of supporting significant cultural events and we are delighted to be sponsoring this important and insightful exhibition on Elizabeth I. The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is close to our London headquarters in Canary Wharf and I am sure that our employees will be among the many visitors to the exhibition who will be fascinated by this very personal portrayal of a great monarch.’

Exhibition Dates: 1 May to 14 September 2003 Admission: Adults £9.00; Concessions £6.00; Children £4.00. Ticket also includes entry to Elizabeth Discovery Gallery.



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