Monday, June 21, 2010

Race To The End Of The Earth: Walking The Hall 6/20/10

On 5/29/10, the AMNH opened a new exhibit entitled 'Race to the End of the Earth', which is about the competition between 2 teams of explorers striving to be the first to reach the South Pole in 1911.

One team was British and the other Norwegian. You can find out more about the story at the AMNH web site. I'm studying the facts in order to do a tour of the hall. I should complete my test soon and I figure I'll give about 2 tours a month in this hall.

I was there yesterday to study and walk the hall. I  took a few pics.

These are some artifacts from the Norwegian team. A violin; if you're in Antarctica in 1911 there's no wireless. For entertainment you might feel fortunate if your teammates could play an instrument or sing. The watch belonged to Roald Amundsen the leader of the expedition. The cup, enameled with the name of the ship the Norwegians sailed to Antartica, is genuine as well. The ship was named the 'Fram', which means forward in Norwegian.The 'Fram' can be seen and boarded at the Frammuseet in Norway.

This is a reproduction of one of the tenements that the British team members slept in while wintering in Antarctica prior to the dash to the south pole.

Above is a simple shot of visitors in the hall. I wasn't allowed to take pictures, I later found out from a guard.

These are more artifacts. Roald Amundsen s rifle which would have been used to shoot seals, or dogs. Amundsen s skiis are here and one of the sledges. I don't think the sledge actually went on the trip to the pole but is an example of the type actually used. It does come from the AMNH collection.

Whereas Robert Scott's British team set up huts at their base camp, the Norwegians excavated a series of tunnels to live and work in. Armundsen reasoned that the less time the men had to spend outdoors, the better for their overall health and well being. They even built a sauna!

I took a few shots of the little models that are included in the exhibit. A key part of the story which directly affects the performance of the competing teams is the mode of transportation that each used. The British used ponies, motorized tractors, and finally man hauling to transport their supplies on the trip to the South Pole.

The Norwegians believed in dogs, dogs, dogs. Modeled above is a sledge team which had 13 dogs including the lead dog.

Above is a reproduction of the tent that the Norwegians left at the South Pole in 1911. They called it 'Polheim', which means 'home at the pole'. I had to use a flash because the light was a little low for my camera. The case in the foreground contains the actual binoculars that Amundsen wore that day at the pole.

I should have my test for the tour in about 2 weeks. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. Random comments/questions:
    1. So are you saying that if you're in Antarctica in 2010 there's wireless?

    2. The idea of a tenement that's *not* in nyc, but in Antarctica is a bit jarring.

    3. Let me know when you're giving this tour.

    4. Does Sig Hansen know aout this exhibit?