Talks & Courses

War Widows' Quilt Workshop

The War Widows’ Quilt commemorates the lives of war widows and their loved ones as part of the War Widows’ Stories project. The arthur+martha organisation, who developed the War Widows’ Quilt together with war widows and their families, will run a workshop combining embroidery and poetry, inspiring participants to make their own commemorative works. All materials included.

Places limited. Advance Booking essential.

Boredom and the British Empire

Drawing on diaries, letters, memoirs, paintings, and popular engravings, this talk will challenge the long-established view that the empire was about adventure and excitement and explain how and why the British Empire became boring for many Europeans on both land and sea.

The voyages of Francis Drake, James Cook and other early explorers required fortitude and determination in the face of storms, shipwrecks, starvation and the unknown. But by the 1800s, as navigation improved and the novelty of ocean  travel wore off, long-distance voyages had become dull and dreary.

Lightning Course: From Newton to Einstein

With the right theory, could we understand the mechanics of everything? In this course, we're going to examine different ideas about how the universe works, how we test those ideas, and the counter-intuitive (but true!) consequences. We'll look at the way things changed between Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation and Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, and how the framework we use today:

Lightning Course: Alien Moons

Icy crusts, volcano-covered surfaces, hydrocarbon lakes. These are just some of the features that we find in a few of the moons of the Solar System. They are unique and intriguing places, and in our Solar System we find a diverse range of compositions and environments, shapes, sizes and even formation history. Come discover these alien worlds at the Royal Observatory with Astronomer Tania de Sales Marques!

This course will explore the following questions:

Facing the Sea: Joshua Reynolds, Artistic Enterprise and Eighteenth-Century Port Cities

After two years training as a portrait painter in London, Joshua Reynolds returned to his hometown of Plymouth in 1743. Still in his early 20s, he would paint dozens of portraits over the next five years before leaving for the Mediterranean. The busy naval port provided a springboard for this young and then little-known artist, who would later achieve lasting fame and become the first President of the Royal Academy.

Othering the English: Dutch National Identity and the Sea, 1600-1815

Early-modern navies were not just a sum of their ships, dockyards and sailors - they were also cultural constructs. Successive Dutch regimes used various media to associate themselves with sea power, emphasizing how a strong fleet served the nation’s interests. Individual politicians and officers also used propagandistic tools to underline their own personal relevance. Artists and authors, such as the van de Veldes and Cornelis van Wieringen, eagerly catered for these agendas and fed a public appetite for naval subjects.

Lightning Course: Searching for life in the Solar System

Note: The topics of our Lightning Courses change monthly. This is one of our past Lightning Courses and will run again in 2020. If you would like to express interest in this course or have a suggestion for another topic you feel would be interesting for our Lightning Courses programme, please email or the Royal Museums Greenwich switchboard at +44 (0) 208 858 4422.


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