Sir David Attenborough opens Lincoln exhibition

An exhibition celebrating the work of Lincolnshire naturalist, explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks has been opened in Lincoln by Sir David Attenborough.

Joseph Banks, A Great Endeavour: A Lincolnshire Gentleman and his Legacy is hosted at The Collection museum in Lincoln, from February 15 to May 11.

The £140,000 exhibition was opened officially by Sir David Attenborough on February 14, 2014, at a private event at The Collection.

In partnership with the Sir Joseph Banks Society, the exhibition centers on Benjamin West’s portrait of the explorer surrounded by artifacts he brought back to England.

Other items featured include a cloak from New Zealand, a headdress from Tahiti and artists’ images of people, plants and animals that they saw along their journey.

Joseph Banks is best known for accompanying Captain James Cook on his Pacific Ocean Voyage aboard the Endeavour between 1768 and 1771.

The Sir Joseph Banks Society’s Executive Director Dr Neil Chambers said: “The exhibition will follow the itinerary of the voyage Banks is most recognisable for, his voyage aboard The Endeavour.

“The collection starts at the Atlantic and then moves to Tahiti and then New Zealand and Australia. It brings together artifacts that have been separated for almost 200 years.

Multi-award-winning naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who also grew up in the midlands, said “Joseph Banks was the greatest figure of British science in the 18th Century.

“Perhaps he has not been so celebrated outside of scientific circles because he didn’t create any individual theory like Darwin”, he added.

“Growing up I did have great admiration for Cook and this great voyage.

“Banks was a brave guy, and he was full of confidence. You couldn’t imagine anybody with more self confidence than Joseph Banks, helped of course by the fact that he had a huge fortune.

“None the less is doesn’t automatically follow that when you land on a pacific island everybody is going to welcome you with open arms, and not everybody did!

“It’s a great pleasure to be here and these are very rare things to behold. Banks’ role on Cook’s first endeavour was instrumental. He saw for example the importance real artists aboard.

“This meant they could effectively record a new civilisation totally unknown to Europe.

“If you think a knowledge of history is important, then historic exhibitions are very important.

“Perhaps there are people that think it doesn’t matter where we were in the past, but you really don’t know anything about the present unless you know about the past.”