This summer Poole Museum will host a fascinating exhibition on the life and work of one of the world’s most significant naturalists, Alfred Russel Wallace.
Wallace, who lived in Parkstone and Broadstone, is well known for arriving at the theory of evolution by natural selection independently of Charles Darwin, yet comparatively few people are aware of his ground-breaking discoveries and extensive travels.
Wallace grew up and was educated in Hertford before travelling globally, exploring and mapping previously uncharted parts of the Amazon. He became the world authority on the flora and fauna of Malaysia and Indonesia.
In addition to his outstanding contributions to science, Wallace also made important investigations into social issues. Often ahead of his time, his published work reflects support for votes for women and the protection of the natural environment as well as his distaste for slavery and eugenics.
In 1899 he moved to Parkstone with his family and by 1902 had built a house, Old Orchard, in Broadstone where he remained until his death in 1913.
Illustrated by beautiful natural history specimens, many collected by the great man himself, ‘World of Wallace’ examines how the places Wallace lived and worked informed his important findings; from Hertfordshire to the Malay Archipelago. The exhibition was curated by Hertford Museum, supported by Arts Council England as part of the Wallace 100 celebrations in 2013, the centenary of Wallace’s death. It is now concluding its tour of the country and bringing Wallace’s story and his discoveries to Poole.
Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Local Economy, Culture and Leisure, Borough of Poole, said: “We’re proud to have this exhibition in Poole – a tribute to a remarkable man, in a place where he had strong connections and spent his final days.”
‘The World of Wallace: Alfred Russel Wallace and his life in the field’ will run from Saturday 14 May until Sunday 7 August 2016. Opening times are Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12 noon to 5pm. For further information please visit www.poolemuseum.com or call 01202 262600.