Royal Observatory Greenwich Christmas Lecture

Launched in 1997, the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn comes to a close this year with a dramatic descent into Saturn's atmosphere in September. Since its orbital insertion in 2004, the Cassini orbiter has explored the famous ringed gas giant and its vast system of weird and wonderful moons, one of which was explored up close and personal with the Huygens lander. Professor Carl Murray of Queen Mary University London will share his experiences with the mission from its inception to the latest knowledge gleaned from data that will be studied for decades to come.

Age: 11+

Art, Charity and the Navy: The Greenwich and Foundling Hospitals

This day symposium will explore similarities in the origins, artistic involvement and philanthropic purpose of two eighteenth-century charitable hospitals with strong ties to maritime Britain: the Foundling Hospital, the first children’s charity in Britain, founded in 1730s by Captain Thomas Coram, a shipwright in the American colonies, and the Greenwich Royal Hospital for Seamen, established by royal charter in 1694 and from 1712 incorporated a school for the orphans of sailors.

‘The Old Father-River’: The Poetry of the Thames from 1500 to the Present Day

Chart the long history of the Thames through poetry: from the idealised Elizabethan river of Spenser, via the hopeful and despairing responses of Romantics and Victorians, through the early twentieth-century vistas of Eliot and Lawrence, right up to the remarkable sequence composed for the Millennium Bridge. The epilogue, perhaps inevitably, will be that most poignant tribute by a Londoner to his river, 'Waterloo Sunset' by Ray Davies and the Kinks. 

Maritime Lecture Series: The Wrecks of H.M. Ships Erebus and Terror

This lecture by Ryan Harris, a senior underwater archaeologist at Parks Canada and scientific lead for the study of the lost ships of the 1845 Sir John Franklin Expedition, will present on the most recent scientific findings from archaeological evidence gathered since 2014. Painstaking investigation of these two extremely well preserved wrecks is shedding light on the final days of the doomed expedition, while revealing subtile aspects of shipboard life among the imperilled crew, and the detailed manner in which the two discovery ships were outfitted for Arctic Service.

Maritime Lecture Series: Imagining the Arctic

Throughout the nineteenth century the British public frequently ‘got lost’ in the Frozen North. Leading explorers were the celebrity figures of their day and they went to great lengths to convince their audiences of the merits of polar exploration, capturing public fascinations, to persuade governments to finance ambitious proposals, and to bolster support for the Royal Navy. In theatres, in art, in verse and song, the achievements of explorers were promoted, celebrated, and manipulated, whilst explorers themselves became the subject of huge attention.

Maritime Lecture Series: Displaying the Arctic in Greenwich

This lecture will examine the ways in which the Arctic has been represented through museum displays in Greenwich for over 150 years, from the early displays of the relics of the 1845 Franklin expedition to the forthcoming Polar Worlds gallery in 2018. It will demonstrate what has changed and what has stayed the same in the interpretation of Arctic histories, through the collections of Royal Museums Greenwich, and ask whose stories have been told when and why.  

Presented by Royal Museums Greenwich curator, Claire Warrior,

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