The Sandwalk, Darwin’s “thinking path”, at Down House, Village of Downe, Kent, England.  Affording both exercise and solitude for thought, pacing slowly around it became an essential part Darwin’s daily routine.

Photograph courtesy of Desmond Fitz-Gibbon.

Charles Darwin: After the Origin

February 2 - June 11, 2009
Borg Warner Gallery
Museum of the Earth
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY
February 12 - October 7, 2009
Hirshland Exhibition Gallery
Carl A. Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

In 2009 the Cornell University Library and the Museum of the Earth celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. This collaborative exhibition, extending through both venues, features documents, rare books, engravings, photographs, zoological specimens, and artifacts. The Museum of the Earth also offers family-friendly exhibits and activities.

“Charles Darwin: After the Origin” focuses on a significant period in Darwin’s life that has thus far received little attention—the twenty-two years following the publication of Origin of the Species in 1859. Six years after his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle, Darwin settled down with his growing family at Down House, Kent, south of London. There he wrote his famous book and then continued his highly original studies in natural history, publishing at least ten more books and countless papers. Darwin worked tirelessly during these decades to collect further support for ideas he presented in the Origin of Species.

During these last two decades of his life, Darwin labored in his gardens and greenhouses studying insectivorous plants, orchids, cross-pollination, and movement in plants. Sexual selection and its role in animal evolution was another focus of Darwin’s later years. His 1871 book, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex explored human descent, a topic he had not covered in the Origin of Species. Darwin was one of the first in science to make extensive use of photography in a publication. His investigations will provide visitors to the Museum of the Earth with the opportunity to examine their own facial expressions in relation to questions Darwin explored in his 1872 book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Additional work on the variation of animals and plants under domestication, geological pursuits, and Darwin's famous study of earthworms will also be explored. Darwin's family helped him in his work, and the setting for his research at Down House is an ever present background to the exhibitions in Ithaca.

The Carl A. Kroch Library and the Museum of the Earth each provide stimulating opportunities to examine the last twenty-two years of Darwin’s life. We encourage visitors to take advantage of the full scope of this exhibition by visiting both venues.

You may also view the online version of this exhibition.

“Charles Darwin: After the Origin” Press Kit