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Antarctica: Explorers Heroes Scientists

17 October 2015 - 7 February 2016

Palace Green Library


With Scott to the Pole

A Royal Geographical Society Touring Exhibition

Historic photographs of this ill-fated Antarctic expedition, taken by Herbert Ponting, told an unforgettable tale both epic and human in scale. In 1910 Captain Robert Falcon Scott set out for the Antarctic, a journey from which he did not return. Having reached the South Pole, he died on the return journey along with his colleagues, just 17.5 km (11 miles) from the safety of a supply depot. Ponting’s images offer a poignant and revealing glimpse of life in a hostile environment and document everyday scenes, from the beauty of Antarctica’s landscapes to the men relaxing on the Terra Nova deck. 

Antarctic Witness

A Royal Geographical Society Touring Exhibition

This exhibition charted the dramatic events of Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-16 through the eyes of Frank Hurley, official photographer of the expedition. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Antarctic, Hurley’s artistry as a photographer was revealed through his photos of daily life on board the Endurance, and later the ice, as Shackleton and his crew are left stranded after their ship meets a dramatic end. Shackleton’s efforts to rescue his crew are now legendary, partly due to Hurley’s amazing visual testimony, which is recorded in 120 glass plates that are now part of the Royal Geographical Society’s photographic archive.  

Antarctic Science Today

This exhibition explored the work of Durham University researchers in Antarctica working with the British Antarctic Survey. It showed how scientists live and work in Antarctica, and what information they are gathering to help us to understand the past, present and future impacts of climate and sea level change - widely recognised as amongst the biggest challenges to life on our planet. 

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