ALSO WORTH SEEING
James Cook: The Voyages
British Library, London Until Aug 28
He discovered Hawaii, explored New Zealand, Australia and Alaska, and shaped Europe’s knowledge of the wider world. Indeed, James Cook produced maps so accurate that many are still used today.
He was hailed a British hero of global exploration. His murder in Hawaii in 1779 by natives was viewed as a tragedy of the time.
This exhibition marks 250 years since his ship Endeavour set sail and attempts to show us two viewpoints of Cook’s role.
It’s elegantly curated with rooms devoted to each of his voyages,
featuring original maps, artefacts, artworks, journals and even specimens.
But it also includes films and interviews with indigenous leaders of today in Australia and New Zealand, who proclaim Cook as a harbinger of destruction.
To revise history with a modern consciousness is invidious, even if the times in which Cook lived - imperialism – may be flawed. Sir David Attenborough praises Cook, describing him as ‘the great revealer of the Pacific’. We should have no reservations in fully celebrating that.