14 September 2012

Exhibition: Dunedin and Antarctic Exploration

Next Stop Antarctica: Dunedin's Role in Polar Exploration
Reed Gallery, Third Floor, Dunedin City Library
6 September to 2 December 2012

2012 is the centennial year marking the death of Robert Falcon Scott (18681912) and his party during the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition. The mission was the second of Scott’s Antarctic ventures to depart from Port Chalmers, New Zealand, following his Discovery Expedition in 19011904. These expeditions were neither the first nor the last such undertakings to launch from Port Chalmers. Indeed, the aptly named ship Antarctic, which carried the first men to claim setting foot on the Antarctic mainland, departed from the port town on Dunedin's south east coast in 1894. To this very day, Dunedin, of which Port Chalmers is now a part, has maintained a connection to the exploration of the Antarctic. ‘Next Stop Antarctica’ explores and celebrates the first half of this nearly 118-year history with Scott at its centre.

The Antarctic has long been a region of interest for intrepid explorers, and so the exhibition begins with a brief look at the voyages made by such men as James Cook, Jules Dumont d’Urville and Sir James Clark Ross, and ends with the United States missions to Antarctica codenamed ‘Operation Deep Freeze’ in the mid-1950s.

On display are more than sixty items from five local institutions. Exhibits include first editions of printed books, including a presentation copy of The South Polar Times given by Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Arctic explorer Sir Allen Young, handwritten and typed letters, issues of Little America Times and the Antarctic News Bulletin, photographs, artefacts (most notably Scott’s typewriter), and memorabilia relating to the American explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd.

An on-line version of the exhibition is available.

Terra Nova in Port Chalmers, 29 November 1910
Photo: Otago Witness

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