Island Adventurer: An evolutionary excursion at the Science Centre!
Did you know that the modern theory of evolution was discovered by Alfred Russel Wallace right here in South East Asia? Keep reading to find out more about Island Adventurer, a Science Centre Exhibition that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of Alfred Russel Wallace.
I finally managed to drag myself to join my friend and her kids for a trip to the Science Centre Singapore last weekend. It was a refreshing change from my usual weekend routine which usually involves trips to places that are near my home. When you have a toddler who has the innate ability to switch to cranky mode at ‘just the right time,’ you tend to stick to familiar places that are close to home for weekend activities. Let’s just say this makes it easier (and much faster) for us to head back once the crankiness starts.
My friend’s kids were super excited about the Island Adventurer exhibition at the Science Centre Singapore, as they had just learnt about the theory of evolution in school. On the other hand, I was curious to find out more about Alfred Russel Wallace, the famous explorer-scientist who co-founded the evolution theory (wasn’t Charles Darwin the founding father of evolution?).
Apparently, Wallace collected over 200,000 specimens of insects, birds and mammals in the 1800s during his 8-year expedition of the Malay Archipelago (back then, this was made up of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia). Through this journey, Wallace noticed interesting trends in the way the animals looked and how they were distributed across the islands. This discovery ─ together with Charles Darwin’s earlier work ─ had led Wallace to come up with his theory of how species evolved by natural selection.
So, to reveal the story behind the works of both Wallace and Darwin, the Science Centre Singapore teamed up with the Faculty of Science and Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to put together the Island Adventurer exhibition at the Science Centre. The Island Adventurer exhibition also commemorates the 100th anniversary of Wallace’s death.
The Island Adventurer exhibition is spread across 6 zones that document Wallace’s adventure in exploring the long-forgotten Singapore. There is also an ‘animated’ theatre setup that tells the true story of the works of both Wallace and Darwin, and how they came up with the theory of evolution.
Since getting to know about the Island Adventurer exhibition, I’ve been wondering about how Wallace lived and worked when he was on a mission to explore and discover the Malay Archipelago. Life on the field must have been tough and unsettling! Turns out, my queries were answered at the exhibition through the replica of Wallace’s work hut, which allows us to experience life as a scientist/explorer in the 1800s.
The exhibition also features a showcase of some of the breathtaking creatures that Wallace collected, including the Golden Birdwing Butterfly, the Rajah Brooke butterfly and a collection of Giant Rhinoceros beetles.
If you’re running out of ideas on where to bring the kids during the upcoming school holidays, the Island Adventurer exhibition at Science Centre Singapore could be a great option to consider!
You can find the Island Adventurer exhibition at:
Science Centre Singapore
Hall B, Mezzanine Floor
The Island Adventurer exhibition at Science Centre Singapore is on from now till 30 November 2014.