2012 Exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, Greenwich
2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the National Maritime Museum, opened by King George VI on 27 April 1937. The Museum’s opening was the new king’s first official engagement and he travelled to Greenwich on the royal barge, passing ships decked out in bunting as he made his way along the Thames. The Museum celebrates this important birthday in style with a programme of world-class exhibitions and events. Royal River: Power Pageantry and the Thames, sponsored by Barclays and guest-curated by David Starkey marks Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with an exploration of the centuries-long relationship between Britain’s royals and one of the world’s most famous rivers. Royal River is followed by Ansel Adams: At the Water’s Edge – one of the largest retrospectives of the renowned American photographer and environmentalist’s work ever to be held in the UK.
The museum also commemorates the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic with an exhibition displaying for the first time part of a unique collection, including survivors’ letters, compiled by Walter Lord and William MacQuitty. 'Titanic' Remembered, along with autumn’s Broadsides! Caricature and the Navy, 1756–1815, forms part of the National Maritime Museum’s ongoing programme of smaller exhibitions. These cover both historic and contemporary issues, as well as key parts of the collections in store, providing visitors with an opportunity to engage and reflect on maritime stories in a more intimate setting.
In centuries gone by the Transit of Venus gave early astronomers their first glimpse of the true scale of space. The Royal Observatory Greenwich explores the significance of this rare event, visible again in 2012, with a new exhibition and a season of talks, special events and planetarium shows all of which pose the question: just how big is the Universe? 2011’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition was the most popular yet with hundreds of entries from across the globe. It returns in 2012 for its fourth outing.
National Maritime Museum, 26 April–9 September 2012
David Starkey guest-curates a major new exhibition on the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Royal River explores the relationship between the monarch, the City and the people as it was brought to life on the Thames – London’s greatest thoroughfare. Taking in the palaces, processions, parties and promenades that made the London we know today Royal River brings together a wealth of paintings, manuscripts and rare and beautiful objects. The exhibition highlights include 50 objects generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, many of which have been brought together for the first time.
This lavish exhibition presents over 250 items on loan from museums, galleries and private collections across Europe and America, as well as an array of objects drawn from the National Maritime Museum’s own collections. Among the items selected for the exhibition are Handel’s autographed score for the Music for the Royal Fireworks (British Library), the magnificent stern carvings from the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert III and a remarkable collection of artworks by Canaletto.
National Maritime Museum, 1 November 2012–21 April 2013
Ansel Adams is widely recognised as one of the most influential landscape photographers of the 20th century. This major retrospective focuses on his life-long fascination with water, and is one of the largest exhibitions of his work ever to be staged in the UK. Ansel Adams: At the Water’s Edge brings together some of the finest examples of Adams’s work from across his career and features images of seascapes, rapids, waterfalls, geysers, clouds, ice, snow, placid ponds and raging rivers, many of them previously unseen.
The photographs are drawn almost entirely from the superlative collection of the Ansel Adams Archive at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, as well as other public and private collections in the United States. The exhibition opens at the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, before travelling to the National Maritime Museum. Including some of the most famous photographs of the 20th century along with pictures that have never before been publicly displayed, the exhibition provides a new context for enjoying this important artist and his legacy.
National Maritime Museum, Early March–30 September 2012
From March 2012 we will be displaying part of a recently acquired collection of letters and ephemera relating to the Titanic, gathered by the late Walter Lord in preparation for his book A Night to Remember. We would like to hear from any descendants of the authors of these letters and any further information they may have about them.
The museum commemorates the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic with an exhibition highlighting the stories of some of those who survived the disaster.
On display for the first time are poignant letters, photographs and personal objects gathered by Walter Lord while researching his definitive 1955 book A Night to Remember, which was made into the 1958 feature film of the same name. Lord’s classic account was hugely influential in fixing the story of the Titanic in the public consciousness – he became a leading expert on the disaster and worked closely on James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster, Titanic.
Using Lord’s research to explore the ship’s place in popular culture, Titanic Remembered asks how that fateful night in 1912 went on to became the world’s most talked about maritime disaster.
National Maritime Museum, 18 October 2012–3 February 2013
This new exhibition examines caricature and the Royal Navy during the second half of the 18th century. This was a period when the Navy assumed an unprecedented importance in the popular imagination and graphic satire became a highly sophisticated art form. The National Maritime Museum holds one of the most comprehensive collections of naval and maritime caricatures in the world, and this exhibition brings together the lively and bitingly satirical work of James Gillray, Isaac Cruikshank and Thomas Rowlandson.
Often published within days of the events they depict, caricatures had an important role in shaping 18th century public opinion, while dealing with national stereotypes, government policy, and emerging notions of celebrity and heroism. Broadsides! explores the political and cultural history of the Navy through the lens of contemporary print culture, encompassing major events including the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence and the wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France.
National Maritime Museum, Opens 18 December 2012
Part of the Museum’s ongoing re-development of its central courtyard, Neptune’s Globe is a new installation which transforms the Museum’s Upper Deck with an interactive world map, vast sail sculpture and audio-visual features. Together, these elements help visitors to uncover and explore a wealth of maritime stories spanning the globe. Picking up on the museum’s key themes of trade, conflict, migration, exploration, leisure and technology, Neptune’s Globe demonstrates the ways in which world history has been shaped by the seafaring past.
As visitors walk over an interactive floor map, stories relating to their location are revealed via digital hand held devices showing related objects and videos from the Museum’s collections. Each key theme will contain dozens of stories: the Titanic, the Battle of Jutland, Cook’s voyages, the East India Company, the Falklands War, Cowes week, the Armada – drawn from diverse times and locations but all relating to Britain’s maritime experience. A colourful sculpture is positioned above the map displaying traditional sail patterns from around the globe, while interactive binoculars give visitors an augmented reality view of the objects and galleries that surround them.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 1 March–September 2012
In June 2012 stargazers will flock to prime locations around the world to see the Transit of Venus – the next one will not occur for another 155 years. Transits take place only when Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as tiny black dot against the bright solar disk. In previous centuries these rare events were used to make an accurate measure of the distance to the planets, giving astronomers their first inkling of the true mind-boggling scale of space. To mark this occasion the Royal Observatory, Greenwich will host a programme of activities from March to September, with a new exhibition and a season of talks, special events and planetarium shows all asking the question: just how big is the Universe? From Edmund Halley and Captain Cook, to Edwin Hubble and the Cosmic Microwave Background, the Royal Observatory will tell the stories of the people who measured the cosmos.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Competition: January–June 2012
Exhibition: September 2012–17 February 2013
The Royal Observatory’s hugely popular Astronomy Photographer of the Year returns in 2012 to celebrate the very best in astronomy photography from around the world.
The call for entries is in January 2012, with photographers invited to submit work into categories including ‘Earth and Space, ‘Deep Space’ and ‘Our Solar System’. The winning images are selected by an expert judging panel which includes Sir Patrick Moore and the Observatory’s Public Astronomer Dr. Marek Kukula. After the winners are announced in September 2012 their photographs will be displayed in a special exhibition at the Observatory.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Sky at Night Magazine, with entries submitted via a dedicated Flickr group. In 2011 the contest received over 700 entries from all around the world - more photos than ever before. More details and previous winning images can be found at www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto.
Notes to Editors:
- The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection. It is housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It incorporates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and the 17th-century Queen’s House. The Museum works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. The Museum welcomes over 2 million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research. For more information visit www.rmg.co.uk.
For further information or images, please contact:
Sheryl Twigg, Jenny Stewart or Jenny Orton
National Maritime Museum Press Office
Tel: 020 8312 6790/6732 | 07903 547 268 or Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com