National Maritime Musuem, Falmouth, exhibition ‘Captain Bligh: Myth, Man, Mutiny’ opens in March 2017


This exhibition remembers a notable West Countryman and significant national figure, in the 200th anniversary year of his death. It tells a story that challenges the more commonly known Hollywood depiction and brings to life one of the greatest small boat survival stories in history featuring relics from the voyage and a specially built reproduction of the Bounty launch, giving a very real sense of the situation of the 18 men who sailed it over 3600 nautical miles across the Pacific.

Lieutenant William Bligh, then commanding HM armed transport Bounty in the Pacific, is remembered for the famous mutiny led by his acting lieutenant, Fletcher Christian, in April 1789. Bligh and his loyal men were cast adrift in mid-ocean in the Bounty’s 23-foot launch in the expectation they would die. In a remarkable feat of seamanship, Bligh sailed the heavily overloaded launch to safety across 3600 nautical miles of open sea from Tonga to Timor, in the East Indies. This journey has been described as one of the greatest small-boat survival voyages, a triumph of endurance, navigation and leadership against extraordinary odds.

The exhibition brings this gruelling journey to life through a faithful reproduction of the Bounty launch and with original relics from the voyage – Bligh’s coconut bowl, bullet-weight (used for measuring the meagre rations), horn beaker and the magnifying glass he used to light cooking fires once they reached the Great Barrier Reef, all on loan from The National Maritime Museum Greenwich. A fine model of the Bounty has also come from The National Maritime Museum Greenwich and one of William Hodges’s magnificent paintings of Tahiti, from Cook’s second voyage.

The in-house build of the Bounty launch is part of a programme of reconstructions of historical craft in the Museum’s boatbuilding workshop. The Museum team has carried out extensive research in-house to ensure the boat is as faithful a reproduction as possible. This boat is one of a number of complete reconstructions built in the Museum’s boat building workshop and something the Museum is keen to do more of.

The Eden Project

Before heading into the Biomes, explore the Core building, an incredible building with a beautiful 70-ton Seed sculpture at its centre and interactive exhibits like the enormous Nutcracker to play with.

Experience the tropical heat and humidity of the Rainforest Biome which is the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Marvel at the mind-blowing architecture and the enormous trees towering above you. Take a treetop walk on the Canopy Walkway. Discover plants that you never thought you’d meet, from cocoa pods and coffee beans to the red powder puff flower and the gigantic titan arum.

Leave the rain behind and immerse yourself in the sights and smells in the Mediterranean Biome. Wend your way through olive groves and vineyards, and among cacti, date palms and aromatic herbs; listen to a story in the Citrus Grove or enjoy a delicious Med-inspired meal in the restaurant.

Tate Gallery St Ives

St Ives perhaps seems an unlikely site for a major art gallery. However, its artistic connections date back to Victorian times when numerous artists came to St Ives to paint, attracted by its special quality of light. Artists associated with the town include Barbara HepworthNaum GaboAlfred Wallis and Mark Rothko.

The gallery is currently undergoing a refurbishment which will see its size double. Works are due to be completed by the autumn. In the meantime the gallery partially re-opens on 31st March for “The Studio and the Sea”, a series of two exhibitions about the ceramics studio, the ocean, and the landscape.  British artist Jessica Warboys will have an exhibition of her large-scale paintings in the sea-facing galleries.

One of the best ways to visit St Ives is by train. Either take the Truro to Penzance train and alight at St Erth. From St Erth a branch line train takes you into the heart of St Ives passing through Lelant and Carbis Bay. Although this latter journey is only 15 minutes in duration, it has been described as one of the most picturesque in the UK. Alternatively, we recommend our guests drive down the A30 to St Erth, park up and catch the train, enjoying the spectacular scenery and avoiding the parking congestion in the picturesque but narrow streets.

Image of Tate St Ives required

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