Race to the End of the Earth

The Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria presents the exhibit Race to the End of the Earth on now to October 14, 2013.

Race to the End of the Earth recounts one of the most stirring tales of Antarctic exploration, the contest to reach the South Pole. This exhibition focuses on the challenges that the Norwegian and British leaders faced as they undertook their separate 2900 km journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole and back.

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RBCM Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit

The wildly popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition from the Natural History Museum, London and BBC Worldwide returns to the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria with 100 winning images from the 2012 global competition in huge, backlit displays.

Photographers from Estonia to Taiwan are among the winning entrants, but the overall winner this year – Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012– is Paul Nicklen from Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island.  His “Bubble-jetting emperors” underwater image of a sunlit mass of Emperor penguins was voted the most striking and memorable of all 48,000 international entries.

The exhibition features 100 photographs from 98 countries in 19 categories, including Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife, World in Our Hands and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year. Each photographic situation is described by the photographer, along with technical details including camera, lens, aperture and exposure.

“Last year’s exhibition of the 2011 contest winners was a huge hit. Visitors returned again and again,” said Tim Willis, Director of Exhibitions and the Visitor Experience. “The images and their stories are stunning. In this age of digital high definition film, it’s fascinating to see the power of still images at work… and these are the finest on the planet. We are delighted to be the first in the world outside London to present Wildlife Photographer of the Year.”

The exhibition isn’t all about creatures either, it includes wild plants and wild places. Photographer Adam Gibbs of New Westminster, BC, was commended for his shot of a miniature Douglas fir growing from a submerged nurse stump in Fairy Lake near Port Renfrew. It appears to be the work of a bonsai master, but is perfectly wild.

Paul Nicklen’s expertise shows in “Spirit of the Forest” a Kermode bear enjoying salmon while lounging in mossy coastal forest. The white-coated bear was named in 1905 after Francis Kermode, one of the early curators at the provincial museum, now the Royal BC Museum.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year includes both humorous and thought-provoking captures, from the raven on a ‘bad hair day’ to photojournalism portfolios. Impactful images range from storks picking over garbage dumps to the brutal and illegal harvest of rhino horn. There are also carefully crafted images by young photographers from ages 10 to 17, in three age categories.

Activities for younger visitors during the run of the exhibition include a Young Photographers Contest in February; a Spring Break Photographic Day Camp – Focus on Nature; and Wonder Sunday: Dancing the Wild Life on March 31.

The 2012 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition closes April 1, 2013.

Envisioning the World at Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum hosts the world’s earliest printed maps

Hartman D. Schedel, German, 1440-1514
Untitled Map of the world
Nuremberg, Germany, 1493

Victoria, BC – The new Royal BC Museum season opened October 4th with Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700 an exhibition of thirty rare world maps drawn from the Wendt collection, complemented by a 1696 double-hemisphere map from the BC Archives collection.

The exhibition includes the first world map ever printed, a simple woodprint, which illustrates the cumulative history of many of these maps. First drawn around 150 A.D. the map was re-discovered in 6th century Alexandria, Egypt. Then Isidore of Seville, a Christian scholar, added the names of Noah’s three sons, each on his own continent. In the 1450s – when printing technology was developed in Germany – this became the world’s first printed map when it appeared in one of Isidore’s books.

Also included in this exhibition from the Sonoma County Museum, California is The Peutinger Table, the world’s first printed road map, redrawn in 1598 from a Roman 5th century map used by the emperor’s couriers. The printed map in this exhibition was published in Antwerp in 1624 and is a series of panels covering more than 112,650 km (70,000 miles) of Roman roads from southern England in the west to Sri Lanka and the River Ganges in the east.

Remarkable leaps in human thought coincide with the emergence of printing, the growth of humanism, and the explosion of scientific discovery beginning in the 15th century,” said collector Henry Wendt in describing these maps. “They capture magical moments in human understanding.”

Lorne Hammond, History Curator, Royal BC Museum, added “This exhibition reveals the earliest centuries of our exploration of our planet’s geography. The printed maps are a visual feast in which the modern world emerges from the dialogue between theologians and astronomers, mathematicians and explorers, in masterpieces of cartography.  With these maps we begin to truly comprehend the nature of our world.”

The Sanson/Jaillot 1696 map from the BC Archives provides a record of how little of the BC coast was charted at that time. It is one of more than 178,000 maps, atlases and related drawings in the archives.

The optional MP3 audio tour of Envisioning the World features short interviews with experts and the character voices of some of the most famous contributors to this body of knowledge. The 104-page exhibition catalogue provides rich detail and is available at the Royal Museum Shop.

This exhibition was organized in a close collaboration between Henry Wendt and the Sonoma County Museum, California. Envisioning the World will continue at the Royal BC Museum until January 27, 2013.

News Release from the Royal BC Museum