A Very Small Vessel

Part of the Darwin exhibition.

Beagle cross-sections
AMNH Special Collections

Darwin knew that life would be cramped aboard the Beagle, but it was still a shock to see how small the ship was: just 90 feet long. The poop cabin Darwin would share with two other men during the day measured just 10 feet by 11 feet--and part of it was taken up by a mast. The ship's library lined one wall, and a large table filled most of the remaining space.

To sleep, Darwin hung a hammock over the table. He lay just two feet from the ceiling, looking up at the stars through a skylight that Captain FitzRoy thoughtfully installed.