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Exhibitions Home | Current | Upcoming | Past | Virtual

Darwin's Legacy

September 10, 2009 – October 11, 2010

Museum: Natural History Museum

Sponsor: Sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Location: Ground Floor, Constitution Ave. Lobby, East & West Sides

Charles Darwin served as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle during a scientific expedition around South America and the Galapagos Islands from 1831 to 1836. The studies he performed and the specimens he collected during that voyage served as the basis of his theory of evolution by natural selection, which he expounded in his groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species. These two cases -- on the east and west sides of the lobby -- feature objects and books related to that voyage to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.

Highlights include:

  • Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships 'Adventure' and 'Beagle' between the years 1826 and 1836 (4 volumes)
  • Beautifully illustrated volumes from the Zoology of the H.M.S. Beagle, edited by Charles Darwin and published 1838-1843
  • Galapagos land iguana and mockingbird specimens from the museum's collections
  • Charles Darwin's silk neckerchief
  • Portrait of Charles Darwin

See also related exhibition Since Darwin: The Evolution of Evolution.

Related Smithsonian book: Darwin: A Graphic Biography (2013)

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries