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Museums and collections

Image credit: Martin Gardner

Discoveries: Art, Science and Exploration from the University of Cambridge Museums

In 2014, Discoveries, the first major show to bring together the fascinating collections from all eight University of Cambridge Museums, took place at London's Two Temple Place and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Discoveries challenged and responded to the very notion of ‘discovery’, displaying objects that span millennia; from artworks to scientific artefacts, historic instruments to rare zoological specimens. It was about imagination and knowledge, the pleasures of looking and the power of objects to generate wonder as well as new ideas.

The University of Cambridge has long been at the forefront of learning, invention, exploration and discovery across the arts and the sciences. The University of Cambridge Museums have grown alongside this research and teaching, founded and developed by scholars and collectors to house their collections of objects and works.

Visit the Discoveries website to find out more about the objects that were included in the exhibition. This website, which began as an online showcase for the Discoveries exhibition, is now an evolving showcase of the Cambridge collections.

An exhibition catalogue providing an introduction to the University of Cambridge Museums and the range of artefacts, works of art, instruments and specimens included in Discoveries is available from the University of Cambridge Museums Shop on Kings Parade and in individual museum shops.

Discoveries ran from 31 January to 27 April 2014 at Two Temple Place on London’s Embankment, continuing their series of annual winter exhibitions showcasing collections from outside central London. The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of events including performing arts, workshops, talks, guided tours and a range of children’s activities.

Following success in London, from 27 May to 27 July 2014 the Fitzwilliam Museum hosted a highlights version of Discoveries exhibition, including material from the Botanic Garden.  A programme of complementary events took place during the exhibition including lunchtime talks, a panel discussion and evening opening.

Discoveries was curated by Professor Nick Thomas (Director of Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) and Martin Caiger-Smith (curatorial advisor to Two Temple Place and Head of MA Programme: Curating the Art Museum at Courtauld Institute of Art) with the University of Cambridge Museums Programme Curator, Dr Lydia Hamlett.