Today, the 12th of February, is Darwin Day marking the birthday and celebrating the achievements of naturalist Charles Darwin born in 1809.
Darwin is best known for his Theory of Evolution, but he also made detailed studies of all manner of animals, plants and fossils. In 1875 Darwen published a study on insectivorous plants which are a group of plants that have adapted to live in very wet areas of poor soils, needing to supplement their nutrition, ingeniously doing this by consuming insects! These highly specialised plants have different methods of capturing and slowly ingesting their prey!
Gallery Oldham is lucky in having a collection of many thousands of lantern slides, including these ones of insectivorous plants. These glass slides would have been projected on to a screen and used to illustrate natural history talks in the museum and library from 1894, when the lecture theatre extension was added to the rear of the Union Street building. At this time a talk with lantern slides would have be technologically advanced, with every seat occupied by an excited audience eager to hear about new discoveries in the natural world.
This group of slides show both line drawings and photographs of living plants which are beautifully hand coloured, perfectly demonstrating these out of the ordinary plants.
These are only a few of the glass slides we hold in our collection, if you’d like to see more slides or other objects from the Natural History collection, why not visit Search Our Collections webpage.