LSTM’s Alwen Evans at the World Museum

News article 6 Jul 2023
Two display cases containing archives relating to Alwen Evans

The story of Dr Alwen Evans, LSTM’s first female lecturer, has been told in two display cases within the atrium of Liverpool’s World Museum.

The contents of the display cases form part of LSTM’s 125th anniversary celebrations which aims to explore how LSTM’s early scientists have impacted on its science and work today. The cases, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the LSTM-Past, Present, and Future project aim, to introduce the museum visitors to Alwen Evans who has been an inspiration to many at LSTM.

Alwen gained a world-wide reputation as an entomologist and was held in high esteem in a then male-dominated area of work. Alwen began her work at LSTM in 1918 later specialising in anophelines mosquitoes which spread malaria. Through this, and her work at the British Museum, she quickly became a recognised expert on African anophelines. In 1921, she was promoted to lecturer in Entomology at LSTM and in 1928 she obtained her Doctorate from the University of Manchester for her thesis ‘A Short-Illustrated Guide to the Anophelines of Tropical and South Africa’. She embarked upon expeditions to West Africa and advised entomologists all over the world. She completed her famous work ‘The Mosquitoes of the Ethiopian Region’ in 1937 and died of pneumonia only two weeks after it was finished.

Clare Maher, LSTM’s Public Engagement and Communications Officer, said: “It was a real honour to be asked to research and write the copy for the Alwen’s display case. It’s amazing to think that over the summer my words will be on display at the Museum for everyone to see.   I am incredibly proud of the final display; it was a real team effort and I hope that young people visiting will be as inspired by her as I was when I was doing my research.” Sarah Lewis Newton, LSTM’s Senior Information Services Manager, continued: “I'm delighted we are able to celebrate a scientist of Alwen's calibre in our 125th year, her excellence as a scientist and an artist are undeniable."

The display cases also contain mosquito specimens, identified by Alwen, which have been cared for by the entomologists at the World Museum.

Quote from Tony Hunter, World Museum said: “I was thrilled to be involved in the development and installation of the LSTM displays in the World Museum atrium. It has been a pleasure to meet and help the staff at the LSTM reconnect with their historic collections, and to learn more about the important work of this iconic institution. It is great for visitors to be able to engage with these important specimens which are usually stored back-of-house.”

Visit the World Museum on William Brown Street to explore Alwen’s story, which will be told throughout the summer holidays. Find information about the World Museum opening times here. Read about LSTM’s events at the World Museum relating to LSTM-Past, Present, and Future here.

This work is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and LSTM would like to thank lottery players for their support in enabling this important project to go ahead.