Exploration show reveals tales of expedition triumph and tragedy

Published: 5 December 2019

A new exhibition opening at the Hunterian Museum this month reveals fascinating tales of expedition triumph and tragedy.

Exploration: From Deep Time to Outer Space
20 December 2019 – 15 March 2020
Hunterian Museum
Admission free

A new exhibition opening at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum this month reveals fascinating tales of expedition triumph and tragedy.

Throughout its history, the University of Glasgow’s staff, students and their associates have explored the world around them, looking in unfamiliar places or in new ways to better understand the world. The success of such ventures often relied on local knowledge and skills. Their investigations, observations and collections have revealed a wealth of life forms, natural processes and phenomena new to western science. They have also inspired subsequent generations of scientists and engaged the wider public with the natural world.

The Hunterian is home to many important historical and modern natural history specimens and the associated materials related to them. Many of the most interesting and scientifically valuable are the product of fascinating field investigations and expeditions.

Exploration: From Deep Time to Outer Space celebrates the University of Glasgow’s historical and modern research achievements and the impressive work of its staff, alumni and associates. It also reveals a diverse array of materials from its natural history collections and archives related to fieldwork expeditions, most of which have never been on display before.

Visitors will see fossils, rocks and minerals, insects, plants and other animals from across the globe as well as equipment developed for exploring Mars and a little bit of the planet itself – a tiny Martian meteorite. Also on display is artwork of the animals encountered on the trips, annotated maps and photos from the field.

Must see items include:

  • Specimens and a map from John Walter Gregory’s Rift Valley expedition – the 1893 trip where he noticed that Africa was splitting apart. The area was later named the Rift Valley.
  • Drills that have been developed to sample bits of Mars by current University of Glasgow academics.
  • The field camera and digitised images from John Graham Kerr’s expeditions to Paraguay at the turn of the 20th century.
  • Colourful artworks and reef specimens from the Great Barrier Reef expedition (1928-1929).
  • Original scientific illustrations by Alexander Haddow, the University of Glasgow alumni who discovered the Zika virus.

From the 18th century to the modern day, from Scotland to Mars and from the teaming life of the Great Barrier Reef to the Dead Heart of Australia, visitors will discover some of the important scientific and personal legacies of these field investigations and how the rewards and costs for such ventures can be very high.

Exploration: From Deep Time to Outer Space is at the Hunterian Museum from 13 December 2019 until 15 March 2020. Admission is free.

Hunterian Museum
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission free

Further Information

For further information contact: Jeanne Robinson, Curator of Entomology, The Hunterian
For images contact: Harriet Gaston, Communications Manager, The Hunterian

Notes to Editors

The Hunterian
The Hunterian is one of the world's leading University museums and one of Scotland’s greatest cultural assets. Built on Dr William Hunter’s founding bequest, The Hunterian collections include scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister and Lord Kelvin; outstanding Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall; major natural and life sciences holdings; Hunter’s own extensive anatomical teaching collection; one of the world’s greatest numismatic collections and impressive ethnographic objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages.

The Hunterian is also home to one of the most distinguished public art collections in Scotland and features the world’s largest permanent display of the work of James McNeill Whistler, the largest single holding of the work of Scottish artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928) and The Mackintosh House, the reassembled interiors from his Glasgow home. glasgow.ac.uk/hunterian

First published: 5 December 2019