The expedition to the Pacific (1862-1866)

Discover the new MNCN permanent exhibition.

Dedicated to the first Spanish scientific expedition that included a photographer in its crew, this permanent exhibition tells the story of the “Scientific Commission of the Pacific”, a group of scientists who were sent out on what initially was a military-political expedition, and traveled through South America by sea and land, visiting Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and the United States of America (California), among other countries. The last commissioners came back sailing up the river Amazon. They later shipped over 80,000 animal species, plants, and objects of anthropological value to Spain. Around 300 of the images taken by the photographer Rafael Castro y Ordóñez are stored in the museum.

The exhibit features some of the tools used by the scientists to collect the samples, along with prints, documents, and a selection of the animal specimens which were sent to Spain, naturally mummified or stored in alcohol. There is also a number of historical publications, including the latest papers and books about the expedition. As for the photographs, there are samples of the images taken in the main countries the expedition travelled through; in 2005, the negatives were turned into digital copies through the wet-collodion process and are now on display at the Museum for the first time.

The images by the photographer Rafael Castro y Ordónez are digitalized and available in the Virtual Library of the Network of Libraries and Archives of the CSIC:



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Catalogo de la exposición

Catálogo de la exposición

Pedidos: La Tienda del Museo PVP 35€

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