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image for Historic Site item typeBotanical Endeavours at Captain Cook Memorial Muse at Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby

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Botanical Endeavours, £6.20

2019 Exhibition - Botanical Endeavours! Joseph Ban

2019 Exhibition - Botanical Endeavours! Joseph Ban


On until the 3rd of November 2019

Joseph Banks was an ardent botanist (above center). He was young and wealthy but had no particular reputation in 1768. All that changed going on Cook’s first voyage. He took with him a well-equipped party, making huge collections of plants which they recorded and brought back to Britain, many for the first time.

The exhibition shows the sort of equipment Banks used and how plants were collected, recorded, classified and transported back to Britain. It includes the chair that Banks used on Endeavour and his own travelling cooking apparatus. There are colourful displays of the nets, containers, presses and reference books that botanists used.

We also focus on two members of Banks’ team, the Swedish botanist Dr. Daniel Solander (above right), without whom Banks would have found difficulty classifying the huge number of plants collected. Another key member was the young artist, Sydney Parkinson, whose beautiful botanical drawings recorded so many plants for the first time.

New Zealand – the islands of birds and plants
Charted 250 years ago!
The ship spent October 1769 to the end of March 1770 circumnavigating both islands. 2019 marks the 250th anniversary of that visit.

New Zealand’s unique flora and bird population was formed through geographical isolation and the fact that there were no native mammals (except two species of bat) until the arrival of Maori. Banks and Solander’s collection forms the first European scientific study of the flora of the islands.

Banks was particularly interested in how plants were used by indigenous peoples. He was especially impressed with the ways that Maori used flax and admired their fine workmanship. This was at the heart of his developing interest in what came to be known as ‘economic botany’, which focused on how plants might be used other than as food or medicine.

The voyage launched Banks on a career which took him to the top of the world of science and learning. In many ways he defined what it was to be a botanical explorer and collector.

Coach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsFrench signs/guidesGerman signs/guidesGift shopPublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberSpanish signs/guidesWheelchairs availableAccepts groups

Winner of the Gold Award 2013 for the best small visitor attraction in Visit England's Awards for Excellence. Yorkshire Tourist Board, White Rose Award 2005 and 2012 winner, 'Small Visitor Attraction of the Year'. 'Discover Yorkshire Coast' Tourism Awards winner, 'Visitor Attraction of the Year 2005


Grape Lane,
North Yorkshire,
YO22 4BA



See location of Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: NZ 900110  Lat: 54.48637 Long: -0.61224

From York, take the A64 & A169 north-east to Whitby.

From Scarborough, take the A171 north to Whitby.

From Teesside, take the A171 east to Whitby.

Follow signs to Park and Ride (best from Teesside or Pickering or park in Town Centre car parks. The museum is on the east side of the swing bridge over the River Esk, take immediate right turn onto Grape Lane. Museum is on the right hand side at the far end.

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Whitby station


  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • French signs/guidesFrench signs/guides
  • German signs/guidesGerman signs/guides
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Spanish signs/guidesSpanish signs/guides
  • Wheelchairs availableWheelchairs available
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups

Winner of the Gold Award 2013 for the best small visitor attraction in Visit England's Awards for Excellence. Yorkshire Tourist Board, White Rose Award 2005 and 2012 winner, 'Small Visitor Attraction of the Year'. 'Discover Yorkshire Coast' Tourism Awards winner, 'Visitor Attraction of the Year 2005

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • YesRamp to entrance
    • YesHandrail by ramp
  • YesEntrance is well lit


  • YesHearing loop system
  • YesSeating available for visitors with limited mobility
  • YesClear signage
  • YesEffective lighting for visually impaired visitors
  • YesWheelchairs provided
    • YesFree
  • YesAudible alarm system

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
    • YesFrom the entrance to reception / ticket area
    • YesTo a specially adapted public toilet suitable for wheelchair users
    • YesTo the gift shop
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • YesVisitor information available in large print (14pt and over)
  • YesVisitor information available in audio format
  • YesHearing loop installed in public areas


Lift access for wheelchairs to first floor, but not to upper floors. We provide DVDs on the ground floor for people with limited mobility