This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Endeavour voyage, undertaken by one of Britain’s most well known explorers, Captain James Cook. He is known for making the first recorded European contact with Eastern Australia and the Hawaiian Islands along with the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand, he even charted the entirety of the Northwest Pacific, across the Bering Strait and Alaska. Cook voyaged to both the Arctic and the Antarctic (although it was a bit too chilly for him). He pioneered scientific and geographical exploration in the regions and paved the way for some of the most famous names of polar exploration, including John Franklin, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.
To commemorate this anniversary, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is introducing four new permanent exhibition spaces opening on September 20th. One of these galleries will specifically focus on the Polar Worlds, it explores the challenges that were faced by explorers in navigating these icy environments which were, to them, completely unknown.
British interest in the Antarctic has a long history and the Museum’s display will include material from Scott’s attempt to reach the South Pole, including the flag that was flown when he reached it.
Kavita was joined by Claire Warrior, Senior Exhibitions Curator at the National Maritime Museum in London, to talk about the exhibition. Claire herself recently went to the Canadian Arctic for the first time and shares her own experiences.