July 16– September 30: Opulent Oceans: Scientific Illustrations at the Coastal Discovery Museum. Showcases Hidden Masterworks in the American Museum of Natural History’s Rare Book Collection!
Featuring scientific illustrations portraying the astonishing diversity of ocean life from colorful mollusks to deep sea fishes to a stout dolphin, the exhibition Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Scientific Illustrations at the Coastal Discovery Museum explores the integral role illustration has played in undersea exploration and discovery. It features 22 exquisite, large-format reproductions from rare and beautifully illustrated scientific works in the American Museum of Natural History Library’s Rare Book collection.
Opening July 16, 2018 the exhibition was inspired by the book Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History, and is curated by the author, Melanie L.J. Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Ichythology, in collaboration with Tom Baione, Harold Boeschenstien Director of the Museum’s Research Library.
The world’s oceans abound with a truly astonishing diversity of life forms. Beginning some 400 years ago, European voyages of discovery began mapping the globe, and knowledge of ocean life flourished as never before. By sketching specimens or collaborating with artists and engravers, explorers documented their discoveries in illustrated books featuring images that communicate the anatomy, life cycles, habits—and sheer beauty—of newfound marine species.
“We really are still in the midst of the great age of ocean discovery and, as an active researcher in the field, I have found it truly inspirational to delve into the past of that discipline,” said Curator Melanie L.J. Stiassny. “This exhibition takes a look back at the lives and contributions of some of those who helped lay the foundations of ocean science and bravely led the way on this continuing journey of discovery.”
In addition to displaying captivating images created in pursuit of scientific knowledge, Opulent Oceans also touches on the work of such pioneering researchers as Charles Darwin, who spent eight years studying barnacles in his home laboratory, work that established his credentials as a taxonomic expert; zoologist Carl Chun, whose German Deep-Sea Expedition of 1898–1899 discovered thousands of new species, some from depths greater than 13,000 feet; and the influential U.S. ichthyologist David Starr Jordan and his 1902 expedition to American Samoa to assess the country’s marine resources.
The Coastal Discovery Museum is located on the 68-acre Historic Honey Horn property at 70 Honey Horn Dr. For further information, please call (843) 689-6767 ext 224.