Introduction to the exhibition

Special Collections Exhibitions
Enlarging the prospects of happiness
  Great cities of Italy
  Pompeii & Vesuvius
  Philosophy of travel
  The picturesque
  England & Scotland
  Ireland & Wales
  Women travellers
  North & South America
  Travel publishers
  Twentieth-century travel writing
  Check lists

The exhibition

Discoveries of new places, customs and climates always fascinate. While few of us possess the stamina, courage or funds to undertake marvellous or exotic voyages, we eagerly await reports of the exploits of famous travellers. It is little surprise that National Geographic magazine enjoys one of the largest readerships in English. Accounts of travel appear to have been popular from the beginning, though readers in earlier ages clearly sought different sorts of enlightenment expressed in quite different styles. This highly selective record of travel accounts over the past 500 years reveals both continuities and variations as readers explore new possibilities of worship, trade, social and political structures, and new ways of understanding their own place in the world.

Drawn primarily from the riches of the de Beer collection, with other material from special collections and Central Library holdings and from the Hocken Library and pictorial collections, this exhibition displays the remarkable breadth of the University's treasures. Moving outward from Rome as the centre of the European imagination, we traverse Europe through the mid-19th century, roam the Atlantic to the Americas and Africa, and finally conquer the Pacific in search of new territory and ideas. We witness travellers as pilgrims, explorers, diplomats and tourists. We encounter new creatures, renewed appreciation of domestic attractions, and a constant tension between fact and fiction. While the material displayed focuses primarily on works in English, similar publications appeared in every European language.

The exhibition curated by Dr Shef Rogers and was opened on Thursday 20 June at 5.30pm.




Detail: Salita al vesuvio. Sauvenirs de Naples. [Naples : s.n., 18--?]

Detail: Salita al vesuvio. Sauvenirs de Naples. [Naples : s.n., 18--?]  
Contact the curator | Next •>