January 5, 2009 16:05 by andi
2009 marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species: the book that made scientific sense of life on earth. It’s the sesquicentenary for the theory of evolution! (Advice: use the word sesquicentenary in print only because when said out loud one never sounds sober).
As well as being a behind-the-scenes tour guide for podcast enthusiasts, I develop exhibitions for Museum Victoria. I recently had the curatorial mission to create a showcase about the genius of Charles Darwin.
There were a series of complications. We had no Darwin-related objects in the Museum Victoria collection (the finch we have was already on display elsewhere); a microscope in the collection ascribed to ‘Charles Darwin’ did not really belong to the evolutionary theorist, it was a fake, and the museum's stuffed chimpanzee was too fragile to display. Then we realised the foyer light levels were prohibitive to accessing loans from other museums and collectors … So we had to take a rather ‘creative’ (but not desperate) curatorial approach. The display which now stands in the Melbourne Museum foyer features an interview with Charles Darwin. Yes, an interview … No séances, no monkey business, just some academic research, curatorial interpretive power and a dash of wondrous imagination.
I have evolved a podcast version of the interview for you here.
Stay fit, Dr Andi
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An image of Darwin from a Museum Victoria lantern slide | The Melbourne Museum Darwin showcase | Charles Darwin (as played by Bernard Caleo)