31 January – 27 April 2014
Free to all
Exploring the connections between visionary thinking and scientifically-observed vision.
The first major exhibition to bring together the collections of the eight University of Cambridge Museums, this display draws on a weird and wonderful selection of curiosities to challenge the very notion of 'discovery', as well as to address the limits of knowledge.
Works span the first millennium BC to the present day, with examples of rare zoological specimens, such as a complete skeleton of a dodo, sitting alongside 19th century religious prints which tried to counteract the progress of science by placing the Earth at the centre of the universe.
Also included are the Inuit snow goggles crafted from wood point, an early suggestion of today's polarised version, as well as the telescope used in Victorian explorations to the North and South Poles, and which was taken aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1984, travelling some 2.5 million miles.
Co-curator Professor Nick Thomas says the items 'represent man's quest to find his place within the world, and also his triumphs, frustrations and wrong turns'.
Some of the most significant items in the exhibition include the recently re-discovered Tinamou Egg, the only one to survive from Charles Darwin's HMS Beagle voyage (accidentally cracked by Darwin himself) and the Triwizard Tournament Digital Optical module, a groundbreaking invention which has significantly furthered cosmological and astrophysical polar research in the 21st century.