Tuesday, 12 July 2009
This morning I left Cambridge. I just want to make note of one of the books that sat on the nightstand in my bed and breakfast room:
That book on top is Period Piece by Gwen Raverat. Raverat was a granddaughter of Charles Darwin, and Period Piece is her memoir about her childhood in Cambridge, and recollections of the Darwin family.
Walking from my lodgings to the train station, I passed by the entrance to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. This, along with the Darwin and art exhibit Endless Forms at the Fitzwilliam Museum, is one of the places I wanted to visit but missed (the botanic garden has an exhibit on Darwin and carnivorous plants).
As I walked from the garden entrance to the train station, one of the wheels on my bag busted off. No good. At times I carried it and other times I just let the one side of the bag drag on the ground – it depended on the condition of the sidewalks: smooth or higgledly-piggledly. When on the train from Cambridge to London, the train’s power failed while in a tunnel and we sat there for about 20 minutes. Remember that on the tube in London when heading to King’s Cross Station on my first day in England the track failed, leading to my regretting the decision to use the stairs rather than the elevator to get above ground. To and fro did not treat me well on this trip, but while I was at my destinations everything was great!
Before getting to Heathrow Airport, I decided to get off at the South Kensington station to quickly visit Karen James at the Natural History Museum (whom I had also seen in Cambridge). Turns out she was too busy with meetings, but I got to walk around the museum for about an hour, picked up a few souviners, and met up with another good friend. I was surprised at how many visitors there were in the museum. While that is understandable given the free admission, a girl working in the museum store told me that this day was rather slow, because school had not yet let out. Here are some photos from my visit to NHM:
After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions was open but I hadn’t the time:
In After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions, major artists and writers exhibit newly-commissioned and existing work, inspired by Charles Darwin’s book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Their pieces explore Darwin’s theory that expressing emotion is not unique to humans, but is shared with animals.
At the Darwin Shop I picked up coffee mug with Darwin’s tree of life sketch on it, and Kristan Lawson’s Darwin and Evolution for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities:
I took pictures of the other books I got during the trip, and all the Darwin literature (brochures, postcards, etc.).
About this statue, which replaced a statue of Richard Owen at the top of the stairs:
The Darwin statue was created by Sir Joseph Boehm and was unveiled on 9 June 1885. In 1927 it was moved to make way for an Indian elephant specimen, and then moved again in 1970 to the North Hall. The statue’s return to its original prime position is in time for the anniversary of Darwin’s birth 200 years ago, and for the start of the programme of Darwin200 events.
“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science.”
Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882)
Dedicated by The Rt Hon Andrew Burnham MP. Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, on the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth, 12 February 2009
This is my favorite photo from the NHM:
And of course, me with the man who gave reason for my trip to Cambridge:
Here is the last photograph I took on the trip:
Made my way to Heathrow, got lunch, damn near missed my flight, flew to Minneapolis, bumped into George from the American Computer Museum in Bozeman there (we were on the same flight), and after a delay flew home to Bozeman. And that was that. Not bad for my first trip out of the United States. I will be going to London this fall for a research trip (archives at the Royal Insitution and Kew Gardens), and will spend more time at the Natural History Museum and – how can I not! – visit Down House, Darwin’s home and laboratory for four decades. If the Darwin biopic Creation (check out the very cool flash website) has not opened in the states yet, I will hopefully see it in London.
The HMS Beagle Project has recently started doing podcasts. The second episode features Karen and Richard, and they both talk about their time with me in Cambridge. Karen said my trip to Cambridge was my Mecca. You can listen to it here.
PREVIOUS: Cambridge Trip #9: Darwin’s Room at Christ’s College; Cambridge Trip #8: Darwin’s Microscope at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science; Cambridge Trip #7: Beetles, Finches and Barnacles at the University Museum of Zoology; Cambridge Trip #6: Darwin the Geologist at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences; Cambridge Trip #5: Darwin Groupies Explore Cambridge; Cambridge Trip #4: Darwin in the Field Conference, Pt. 2; Cambridge Trip #3: Darwin in the Field Conference; Cambridge Trip #2: Finding My Way; Cambridge Trip #1: Traveling