Thursday 29 April 2010

A weekend of celebration for D'Arcy

The 150th anniversary of the birth of D'Arcy Thompson falls this weekend during Show Scotland, the annual celebration of museums & galleries, so Museum Services is taking the opportunity to celebrate D'Arcy with a range of special events.

On Saturday 1st May, the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum will be open from 2pm for an afternoon of music and talks. Zoology curator Cathy Caudwell will talk about D'Arcy's collections and connections around the world. Museum curator Matthew Jarron will be discussing the role D'Arcy's various assistants played in Dundee, many of whom went on to great success elsewhere - one even went on the Farthest South expedition with Shackleton. Mike Taylor of Museums Galleries Scotland will be discussing one of D'Arcy's assistants, Alexander Rodger, and the extraordinary Bering Sea expedition that Rodger and D'Arcy went on in 1897. Finally, Patrick Randolph-Quinney of the University's Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification will be talking about D'Arcy's masterpiece On Growth & Form and its role in the foundations of Virtual Anthropology. Interspersed with these will be zoology-themed music from the University Chamber Choir. The museum will remain open until 4.30pm.

At 6pm on the Saturday in the Dalhousie Building, Prof Lewis Wolpert of University College London will be giving the Saturday Evening Lecture on The Development of Pattern & Form, exploring the legacy of D'Arcy's work and looking at how physical forces shape growth within the embryo in amazingly complex ways. To accompany the talk, Duncan of Jordanstone College researchers Paul Harrison and Gavin Renwick will be exhibiting work in progress from their current D'Arcy-inspired project Transformations: the Architecture of Life. (NB - the lecture is free but tickets should be booked via the website)

On Sunday 2nd (D'Arcy's 150th birthday), the Zoology Museum will be open to the public 2pm-4.30pm and at 2.30pm we'll be bringing D'Arcy (and friends) back to life for a special outdoor theatre performance by the Walking Theatre Company, organised by students from the Museum &  Gallery Studies course at the University of St Andrews. It'll be starting in front of the Tower so meet there or in the museum - dress for the weather and be prepared to walk!

On Monday 3rd at 6pm in the Zoology Museum, Kirsty Gunn, professor of creative writing, will introduce an evening of poetry and prose inspired by D’Arcy and his museum, performed by students from the University's creative writing programme. The evening will also feature the premiere performance of a new epic D’Arcy poem by tutor and poet Jim Stewart. Refreshments will be served from 5.30pm.

Our major exhibition in the Lamb Gallery, D'Arcy Thompson: Growth & Form will be open on the Saturday (9.30am-4.30pm) and Monday (9.30am-8.30pm). You can also see special D'Arcy mini-exhibitions at Discovery Point and Sensation: Dundee Science Centre.

Our new lavishly illustrated publication telling the story of D'Arcy's life and work in Dundee is available now for £3 and will be on sale at these events, which are part of the year-long D'Arcy 150 celebrations organised by the University of Dundee Museum Services in collaboration with the College of Life Sciences and the University of St Andrews Museum Collections, with funding from the Royal Society's Local Heroes programme.

For more information on any of the events please contact Matthew Jarron at

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