The 19th century witnessed a revolutionary phenomenon in human activity, almost an evolution in the species – a new figure was born – the tourist – the curious voyager who traveled for pleasure, to see the world, to explore distant, faraway destinations and exotic cultures. Most were well-to-do educated men, some were independent- minded women; many were chroniclers of their journeys, and a genre of literature evolved – travel writing.
This unique exhibition takes a look at the 19th century traveler, whose character was so quintessentially encapsulated in Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg. The story is told through some 80 objects representative of the art of 19th-century travel and the distant cultures encountered. Rarities of the natural world, exquisitely crafted artifacts and artworks attest to a far flung panorama – Africa, Asia, Oceania, as well as the European continent.
Drawing on the extensive and incredibly diverse collections of the Museo Stibbert of Florence, Italy, this exhibition time-travels across continents and cultures, invoking the experiences of 19th century voyagers and exploring the ramifications of this incredible social phenomenon.