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Darwin: How One Man's Theory Turned the World on its Head

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darwin_web_small_copyFebruary 18 - September 3, 2012
Kathleen and Curtis Gunn Gallery

Discover Charles Darwin and his revolutionary ideas at Darwin: How One Man’s Theory Turned the World on its Head, an internationally acclaimed exhibit making its first Texas stop at the Witte Museum. 

Darwin offers visitors a provocative exploration of the life and discoveries of Charles Darwin, whose insights led to the theory of evolution, forever changing the perception of the origin and nature of our own species and launching modern biological science. Darwin is an engaging and enlightening exhibition for visitors of all ages. 

Glimpse into Darwin’s intellectual and personal world through specimens, documents, film, fossils, interactive media, exact replicas of his personal effects and a reconstruction of his study. Experience the wonders Darwin witnessed on his historic five-year voyage as an adventurous young man aboard the HMS Beagle to South America, the Galapagos Islands, and beyond. 

Learn how Darwin arrived at the startling conclusion that life is not static, but changing, and how his controversial theory of natural selection offered an explanation of Earth’s amazing diversity. These insights continue to guide scientists worldwide as they apply Darwinian concepts to everything from global inventories of life and conservation biology, to the reconstruction of the evolutionary Tree of Life and the treatment of diseases.

Touch specimens like a reproduction of a giant glyptodont skeleton (a prehistoric armored mammal), and get up close to other items such as samples of petrified wood and use a simple hand lens, just as Darwin did in developing and testing his groundbreaking theories.

Younger visitors can engage in computer interactives to modify a virtual environment and see how the change affects various species, or examine similar features amongst whales, frogs, humans and more!

There is a $5 surcharge in addition to museum general admission for Darwin. For more information call 210.357.1910 or visit

Darwin at the Witte Museum is generously supported by the William Knox Holt Foundation, the Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation, Great Events and Rentals, and the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. Darwin is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York ( in collaboration with The Field Museum, Chicago; the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, The Museum of Science Boston; The Royal Ontario Museum and the Natural History Museum of London.

Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner Lecture Series: Darwin in Depth

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
6 – 8 p.m.
Meet the Curator! An Interactive Evening of Questions and Answers About Evolution
In 1831, Charles Darwin set sail aboard the HMS Beagle on an extraordinary voyage that would lead to his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection. This theory turned the world on its head and remains unchallenged as the key principle of modern biology. Join us on our own journey of discovery with an exciting series of presentations.

Is evolution a theory or a fact? Did humans really ‘come from’ monkeys? Meet the Witte Museum’s new Curator of Anthropology, Bryan Bayles, Ph.D., as he answers your questions, dispels common misconceptions about the theory of evolution and guides us through this exciting new exhibit! In addition to a doctoral in anthropology, Bayles also holds masters degrees in art history and public health.

Wednesday, March 7
6-8 p.m.
From the Beagle to the Business of Biotech

Biotechnology is big business in San Antonio! Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection not only enables us to understand Earth’s rich biodiversity, but also to decipher our genes, fight viruses and battle emerging infectious diseases. In this talk, renowned scientist, entrepreneur and technology business leader, Mary Pat Moyer, Ph.D., shares how Darwin’s insights continue to inform our nation’s most cutting-edge biotechnology industries.

Wednesday, April 11
6-8 p.m.
Mysteries of Mass Extinctions
Mass extinctions remain one of evolution’s greatest puzzles. Volcanoes, asteroids, as well as sudden changes to the oceans and atmosphere may all have played roles in the collapse of entire ecosystems. Using examples from his own research and that of Darwin’s day, noted Professor Dan Lehrmann, Ph.D., Department of Geosciences, Trinity University, will explore
the role of mass extinctions in the history of life on earth.

Wednesday, June 6
6-8 p.m.
Darwin’s Dilemma: When Science and Faith Collide
Much like the work of Galileo, Newton and Einstein, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged some of society’s deepest held beliefs about our place in the universe. Is nature the reflection of a divine process, a Natural one or both? Can science and faith coexist? Darwin, his wife and their contemporaries struggled deeply with these same questions. Join a distinguished panel of scientists, educators and theologians as we discuss the often controversial relationship between science and religion.

Admission is free for Darwin in Depth. Reservations are required, call 210.357.1910.

Browse select photos of the Darwin exhibit below!