Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough officially opened a new exhibition at The Collection in Lincoln last night.
The exhibition entitled Joseph Banks, A Great Endeavour: A Lincolnshire Gentleman and His Legacy at The Collection is now open to the public.
In partnership with the Sir Joseph Banks Society and its executive director Dr Neil Chambers, the venue is hosting a celebration of the great Lincolnshire explorer, naturalist and botanist during a three-month show Sir Joseph Banks.
He was born in London but spent much of his childhood in our county and is probably best known for accompanying James Cook on board the Endeavour on the classic first voyage to the Pacific Ocean.
During this voyage, which included the first circumnavigation of the islands of New Zealand and the east coast of Australia, Banks collected and recorded information on natural history and the society and culture of indigenous peoples.
As a scientist and adviser, Banks went on to promote the exchange of knowledge about flora, fauna and human cultures new to Europeans.
Sir David Attenborough said: “Banks was the greatest figure in the British arts in the 18th Century.
“He was a great administrator and hugely wealthy. He was president of the Royal Society for 42 years.
“He paid for eight people to travel on the expedition with Cook to document the findings including artists to sketch and paint what they saw. He became a great celebrity after the voyage and a very important figure in British society.”
Banks orchestrated geopolitical changes that continue to shape the world today, including the colonisation of Australia, the exploration of Polynesia and increased trade and plant exchange with India.
He grew up at Revesby outside Horncastle and inherited his father's estates in the county in 1761. He also became High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1794.
Approximately 80 species of plant bear his name, and he was elected President of the Royal Society in 1778 – a position he held for the remainder of his life.
Andrea Martin from The Collection said: "The exhibition will centre on Benjamin West's portrait of the explorer surrounded by artefacts he brought back to England after he accompanied Captain James Cook on his first Pacific Ocean voyage aboard the Endeavour between 1768 and 1771.
"Examples include a cloak from New Zealand and a headdress from Tahiti, along with images made by artists of the people, plants and animals that they saw on the journey.
"Much of the material will rarely have been seen in Lincolnshire before, and it is a great privilege for us to borrow objects and drawings from many museums across the country, including the British Library, British Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford."
There is educational material, family activity days and lectures to accompany the exhibition, which runs until May 11.
Open daily 10am to 4pm. Free Entry. To find out more call 01522 782040 or visit www.thecollectionmuseum.com