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Darwin and the Beagle

World Museum Liverpool

A small exhibition called Voyage of the Beagle and the Darwin Discovery Trail fun quiz are the latest World Museum Liverpool events marking the 200th anniversary of the great scientist’s birth.

The two are launched at the start of National Science Week 7 March 2009 and both run until 18 December 2009.

Voyage of the Beagle is in the museum’s Clore Natural History Centre and features items from Charles Darwin’s time and a 1:64 scale model of the Beagle.

When the Beagle returned to Britain in 1836 after the epic five-year voyage around the world, 27-year-old Darwin became a celebrity.

On display are pieces of equipment similar to those used by Darwin – telescope, compass, sextant – along with illustrations of the Beagle. There are two pistols of the type carried by the naturalist as he hunted for specimens.

Mike Graham, the centre’s curatorial manager, says: “The captain of the Beagle told Darwin that he must always be armed when he went ashore in remote places.”

There are drawer and display cases containing specimens linked to Darwin’s studies including an example of horn wrack, a sea creature that was the subject of his first scientific paper as an undergraduate.

Other specimens include fossils, snails, moths and butterflies linked to evolutionary theories. Four bird specimens were collected by Alfred Russel Wallace – the scientist who came up with natural selection ideas which prompted Darwin to publish his controversial theory as On the Origin of Species in 1859.

The Darwin Discovery Trail has 11 questions about Darwin-linked exhibits located around the museum.