Home Exhibition Introduction

Hidden histories of exploration

The history of exploration has often invited celebration; after all, to travel into the unknown is easier said than done. But what, and whom, shall we celebrate?

When we think of exploration and its history, it is usually individual explorers and their heroic deeds that come to mind. Other less visible aspects, including explorers’ dependence on local support and on intermediaries such as interpreters and guides, are often overlooked. In many different parts of the world, from the Arctic to Asia, and from Africa to the Americas, European explorers relied on local knowledge.

Research on the Collections of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), which include over two million maps, photographs, manuscripts, books and artefacts, offers a new perspective. Sometimes hidden, sometimes visible, the role of locals and intermediaries in the history of exploration and travel deserves to be much better known.



This exhibition contains images of exploration since 1800, shown in the galleries to the right. To view an image, click on a thumbnail. Titles and interpretive captions can be seen by moving your mouse over a selected image.You can then click the image to view it fullscreen. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the galleries.

Click on "Next" to continue.


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