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Exploration and Endeavour: Science in the South Seas

14 SEPTEMBER 2010

The role of science in the voyages of discovery to Australia is explored in a new exhibition at the National Museum of Australia.

Exploration and Endeavour: The Royal Society of London and the South Seas features significant documents and objects from the Society's collections to reveal the key role played by the Royal Society in the exploration and early documentation of the Australian continent.

The National Museum of Australia's latest exhibition Exploration and Endeavour: The Royal Society of London and the South Seas commemorates the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Society of London.

The exhibition features objects from the Royal Society, many of which will be on display in Australia for the first time. Included are navigational instruments from the Endeavour, Resolution and Adventure, letters from James Cook and Matthew Flinders, and a mechanical planetarium, or orrery, made in about 1760 to demonstrate the principles of the transit of Venus.

"It is fitting that in the year in which the Royal Society celebrates its three–and–a–half centuries of existence, the National Museum of Australia should acknowledge the key part the Royal Society played in our modern history," said Andrew Sayers, AM, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

"The idea that science is an important part of creating a better and more civil society — an idea sometimes obscured during the twentieth century — is now, as ever, an idea that we should hold fast to," said Mr Sayers.

Exploration and Endeavour: The Royal Society of London and the South Seas is a collaboration between the National Museum of Australia and the Royal Society. The exhibition is also supported by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Exploration and Endeavour: The Royal Society of London and the South Seas will be on show at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra from September 15, 2010 to January 30, 2011. Admission is free.


For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au