The Cité des sciences et de l’industrie devotes an exhibition to a famous but often overlooked figure: Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution.

Behind the image of the naturalist and acclaimed biologist lies the father, the humanist, a crusader against slavery and a pioneer of animal and human ethology. The exhibition returns to the roots of Darwin’s thinking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the historical milieu of the 19th century.

Facets of Darwin’s life and work are developed through observation and interaction (films, interactive multimedia devices, games…) but also through an exhibition path adapted for families (and for children ages 10 and up) that follows various themes throughout the tour.

The exhibition itinary

DARWIN AND HIS TIMES
Visitors to the exhibition will receive different points of reference that contextualize Darwin’s time, examining various historical, intellectual, and cultural facets of Victorian society. Chronological exhibits present Darwin’s background, in all its joys and tragedies. 

AROUND THE WORLD IN 1,741 DAYS
Darwin developed a passion for the natural sciences during his childhood. As a young scientist, he undertook a voyage around the Southern Hemisphere on the HMS Beagle, where he developed observational abilities and established a reputation as a promising naturalist. 

SCALE
Before visitors can approach the ideas at the heart of Darwin’s theory of evolution, it is important for them to reevaluate their sense of scale. Evolution does not happen overnight. It only occurs after many generations, when a particular trait has either remained or disappeared. 

THE DARWINIAN REVOLUTION
The Darwinian Revolution is explored in three major works: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex and the Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Interactive exhibits offer visitors a chance to join Darwin in his investigation, studying the observations that helped him reach his conclusions. 

HOW DARWIN’S IDEAS WERE RECEIVED
No scientific work has ever had such a rapid impact in scientific circles and beyond. By 1859, Darwin was the world’s best-known naturalist. His books were translated into many languages, and newspapers and magazines reported on his publications.
His ideas also resonated with the arts and the humanities. It was as if society in the late nineteenth century had been waiting apprehensively to hear Darwin’s confirmation: that life has evolved since its origin, that new forms of life succeed older forms of life, and that we share more with animals and plants than we think.
The connection between Darwin and eugenics, or “social Darwinism,” is deconstructed here, re-contextualizing his theories and offering a reminder of what the scholar actually observed and proposed. 

EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCES TODAY
At the start of the 21st century, what was happening in the field of evolutionary science?

Darwin pioneered a still-thriving field of research, though he knew nothing about the mechanisms of heredity and genetics. After more than a century and a half of major discoveries in biology, the basis to his theory has been confirmed, extended, reformulated and sometimes contradicted. 

DARWIN’S PRIVATE LIFE
This last part of the exhibition focuses on specific aspects of Charles Darwin’s life as a husband, father, a crusader against slavery, and a relentless worker. 


Exhibition developed in partnership with the French National Museum of Natural History of Paris (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris).


Some figures
2018
Tecnopolis, Buenos Aires, Argentina: 450 000 visitors