Renfrewshire Leisure's Museums hold a small collection of material collected during the voyage of HMS Challenger (1872 - 1876) and is a contributing organisation in the HMS Challenger Collections project, led by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery.
The Challenger expedition was a four-year expedition to survey and explore the deep ocean floor, circum-navigating the globe, covering 70,000 nautical miles and collecting samples and measurements from over 350 sites. The expedition discovered over 4000 new species, produced a 50 volume report and marked the beginnings of the science of oceanography as for the first time scientists were able to systematically survey the geology, topography, biology and chemistry of the deep sea.
On return, many specimens were sent to experts around the globe to be identified, researched and documented and once this task was complete the scientists were instructed to return the material to the Challenger Office to then be forwarded on to the British Museum (now the Natural History Museum) for safe keeping and further study. However, duplicate material was often transferred to other UK museums or kept by some of the scientists who then donated their collections to a museum. As a result the HMS Challenger Collection is held in a number of museums across the UK and overseas.
Over a century later the specimens and material collected during the expedition is still being studied by scientists from around the world. To this end and to assist in providing access to the wealth of information held in these collections scattered across many institutions, the HMS Challenger Collections project was developed. To learn more and to view the Challenger specimens help by our museums visit www.hmschallenger.net