After 100 Years, The Chance to Relive Scott’s Last Expedition

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Aurora Expeditions are proud to partner with London’s Natural History Museum on their new exhibit Scott’s Last Expedition. Scott’s Last Expedition will look at this landmark journey into the unknown from different angles including everyday life in the base-camp hut, examining the different tales of human endurance and revealing the remarkable scientific achievements of the expedition, a story largely untold until now. Aurora Expeditions are proud to be offering visitors to Scott’s Last Expedition and online visitors to the Museum the chance to win an expedition cruise to Antarctica to experience the icy continent first hand.

At the time of the Terra Nova expedition, 1910-1913, there were still many unanswered questions about Antarctica. Scott brought with him the largest team of scientists that had ever visited the continent in an attempt to find the answers. The expedition returned with jars and bottles containing thousands of zoological and geological specimens. They also collected a rich record of data, fundamentally contributing to what is now known about the continent. Today, more than 40,000 specimens collected by Scott’s Terra Nova expedition are held in the Natural History Museum’s collections.

Elin Simonsson, the exhibition curator at the Natural History Museum who led the exhibition development, says ‘Our mission is to share this fantastic and inspiring story of Scott’s last expedition with the world, and for the first time tell it from a broader perspective. One hundred years on, we want people to know that Scott’s last expedition was not just a journey to the South Pole, it was also an important scientific expedition that carried out work across many fields. ‘

Running from 20 January – 2 September 2012, this exhibition reunites for the first time real objects used by Scott and his team together with the scientific specimens collected on the 1910-1913 expedition. Visitors can also walk around a life-size representation of Scott’s base-camp hut, which still survives in Antarctica. The exhibition includes:

The death of the Polar party – starting at the expedition’s most dramatic point, with the deaths of Scott and the Polar team, the exhibition will revisit the entire expedition with a look at the many different tales of the powers of human endurance and exploration.

The hut – visitors will be able to enter a life-sized representation of the base-camp hut, which formed the centre of the Terra Nova expedition. In a space that contained a photographer’s dark room, a laboratory, a bread-making oven and a gramophone, the expedition members achieved a surprising level of domesticity. As one of the survivors explained, ‘Whatever the conditions of darkness, cold and wind might be outside, there was comfort and warmth and good cheer within’.

The science – the thousands of scientific specimens brought back from the Terra Nova expedition represented 2,109 different species of animals and plants. More than 400 of these were new to science. The scientists studied Antarctic wildlife, both on land and in the water, surveyed new terrains, studied glaciology, geology and the effects of atmospheric electricity. They also produced the longest unbroken record of Antarctica’s meteorological data, which remains the baseline for modern records today.

Key scientific specimens on display include the geological specimens found with Scott’s body at the last camp, the extinct plant fossil Glossopteris indica, which proved that Antarctica had once been part of the supercontinent Gondwana, and the emperor penguin eggs that three men risked their lives to collect on the notorious Winter Journey.

Terra Nova’s legacy – The epic tale of Scott and the Terra Nova expedition continues to inspire new generations of scientists, historians and explorers.

During his final days, Scott wrote, ‘Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.’

As these words show, the story of Scott’s last expedition is one of adventure, bravery and human endeavour.

Visitor Information

Dates and times:20 January – 2 September, 10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)
Visitor enquiries: Monday-Friday +44 (0)20 7942 5000, Saturday-Sunday +44 (0)20 7942 5011
Admission: Adult £9*, child and concession £5.50*, family £26*
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