Special Exhibitions

Waterloo and the March of Science (opening 18 June 2015)

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy has been awarded grants by the Heritage Lottery Fund and B&NES Heritage Services to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo through an exhibition and related events programme, Waterloo and the March of Science.

Astronomer William Herschel visited Napoleon and the Empress Josephine in Paris in 1801, during the fragile Peace of Amiens.  The exhibition examines the impact of the Napoleonic Wars at local level and how science and technology responded to nearly two decades of war with France.

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Being Caroline (16 April 2014 – 18 May 2015)

Disfigured by disease and treated as an unpaid servant by her mother, astronomer Caroline Herschel lived the ultimate Cinderella story.  She was rescued from a life of neglect and drudgery at home in Hanover, not by a handsome prince, but by her elder brother William.  This exhibition examines every aspect of Caroline’s life – her education, her singing career, her struggle to be a worthy housekeeper for her brother, and her pre-eminence as an internationally celebrated astronomer in her own right.

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Making Light of It – The Art and Science of Light in the 18th Century (August – December 2013)

From humble rush lights and tallow to ruinously expensive beeswax candles, light was increasingly important in the Georgian home.  Reflected light bounced off carefully placed gleaming mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and burnished gilt picture frames.

By discovering Uranus, William Herschel looked further into the Universe than anyone had done before him.  Yet he made another equally important discovery about this planet.  By watching how sunlight refracted through a prism, Herschel discovered infra-red radiation and thus made the invisible visible.

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