A new exhibition at Auckland Museum explores the life of pioneering New Zealand botanist Lucy Cranwell (1907-2000). Now open in Tamaki Gallery.
Now showing until 5 September | FREE with entry
Lucy Cranwell: Walk on the Wild Side, uses rarely-seen footage, interviews, and draws from the Museum’s extensive botany collections to tell the story of a woman passionate about the outdoors.
In 1929, aged only 21, Cranwell became Auckland Museum’s first curator of botany. For 14 years she was devoted to sharing her love of botany and the bush with a generation of children, organising native flower shows, writing newspaper articles and leading field trips to remote and wild locations.
Cranwell’s botanical curiosity and adventurer’s spirit took her from the tops of mountains to the bottom of murky bogs. With an enthusiasm revered by her male colleagues she slogged through forests, slept on frost-covered hills and extracted ancient pollen from marshlands, making important discoveries about New Zealand plants.
The exhibition also features a curious specimen collected by Cranwell, the vegetable sheep (Raoulia eximia) – a native daisy named for its resemblance to a real sheep. Cranwell and her companions dug up and lugged the 61kg vegetable sheep down Canterbury’s Mt Torlesse windy slopes in 1931.
Lucy Cranwell: Walk on the Wild Side investigates how Cranwell, one of New Zealand’s first female scientists, received international acclaim for her groundbreaking work on the reconstruction of ancient botanical landscapes of the southern hemisphere.
Lucy Cranwell: a remarkable woman and a life worth celebrating.
The Museum Library holds a number of publications, documents, letters, field notes, botany reports and photographs relating to Lucy Cranwell in the manuscripts collections and Museum archives.
The Reading Room and Special Collections area are open
Monday to Friday – 1pm to 5pm
Saturday – 10am-5pm.