A special exhibit at the Huntington Library which exposes how Darwin's earlier research in botany shaped his ideas began Saturday.


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A special exhibit at the Huntington Library which exposes how Darwin’s earlier research in botany shaped his ideas began Saturday. Charles Darwin, one of the more lauded naturalists in history, is famous for his controversial ideas on the theory of evolution. While a substantial part of the study of biology, Darwin’s theory of evolution became both widely accepted in the scientific community and heavily criticized by Christians who aligned themselves with creationism.

To this day, there exists controversy in many schools about whether to teach the more plausible theory of evolution or combine Darwin’s theory of natural selection with a more “Christian” idea of creation.

The exhibit “Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure,” consist of a traveling collection of more than 60 items that will be shown in the West Hall, will continue until Jan. 5.

The exhibit was put together initially at the New York Botanical Garden by Darwin expert and Drew University professor David Kohn, a curator at that museum.

In addition to books, manuscripts and prints from the New York Botanical Garden’s collection of Darwin items, the display includes other items from private individuals and institutions as well as a few from the Library’s own collection.

David Zeidberg, the Avery Director of the Huntington Library, notes that “the exhibition’s focus is on Darwin’s earlier research and botany, and how the basis of this research led him to write the ‘Origin of Species.'”

There are three sections to the exhibit: his early years of education, the work with plants that led him to ‘Origin of Species’, and evolutionary biology. It includes items that reveal Darwin’s professional relationships with other leading botanists of his time, as well as how their work influenced his ideas.

“The exhibition starts with his schooling at Cambridge University, and then continues with research leading to his trip aboard the HMS Beagle,” explains Zeidberg.

Visitors get to see the formation of Darwin’s ideas from his younger days that led to groundbreaking hypotheses later in his life.

The Huntington Library is open Mon., Wed., Thurs., and Fri. from noon until 4:30 p.m, and Sat. and Sun. from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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