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Livingstone's cap, you correctly presume

13 DECEMBER 2004

A small peaked cap and a compass used by Dr David Livingstone in his pioneering journey to central Africa will be installed at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on Tuesday, 14 December.

This is the first time the cap and compass have left the United Kingdom, since
Dr Livingstone returned from his landmark 1849 exploration through the Kalahari. They have been loaned by the Royal Geographical Society of London for the National Museum's new exhibition, Extremes: Survival in the Great Deserts of the Southern Hemisphere.

Extremes features key archaeological finds from deserts across Australia, South America and Africa, tracing ancient rock art and lives shaped by dramatic environmental and social change.

Other key African objects being installed on Tuesday include three 250,000-year-old hand axes, the earliest evidence of human survival in the Namib desert; and a 500-year-old Philip II Spanish silver coin, the first evidence of European contact in the world's oldest desert.

WHAT: Arrival of African material for Extremes

WHEN: 11am, Tuesday, 14 December 2004

WHERE: Temporary Exhibition Gallery, National Museum, Acton Peninsula

Extremes curator and National Museum archaeologist Dr Mike Smith said the African material told rich stories of survival in extreme environments. The exhibition also features a large domed mat house, typical of the homes of the southern African desert people.

Extremes includes 350 fascinating objects from a Chilean inflatable seal skin raft to an EJ Holden from the Bush Mechanics. The exhibition is on show at the National Museum from 26 December 2004 to 9 October 2005.

MEDIA ARE ALSO INVITED TO ATTEND A PREVIEW OF THE EXTREMES EXHIBITION WITH DR MIKE SMITH AT 11AM ON TUESDAY, 21 DECEMBER

For interviews and striking images please contact Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or m.portus@nma.gov.au