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Events & exhibitions

Exhibitions

red ship

Delivery by design: Stamps in Antarctica

12 June - 6 September

Antarctic stamps are more than payment for postage, historic items or artwork to be collected; they are statements that an area is claimed by a nation as part of its territory. These stamps highlight Antarctic flora and fauna, and commemorate many of the British expeditions that have undertaken Antarctic exploration and science. This exhibition explores the history of stamps from the British Antarctic Territory, drawing from the Scott Polar Research Institute's archives and highlights the recent gift of stamps, printing proofs and original artworks made by Crown Agents to the Scott Polar Research Institute with the kind assistance of the Polar Regions Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Wheel in snow

Reinventing the Wheel: Bicycles in the Polar Regions

1 July – 6 September

This exhibition celebrates the arrival of Le Tour de France in Cambridge with a look at the surprising history of bicycles in the Arctic and Antarctic. The display will explore the role bicycles and bicycle wheels have played in the exploration of the Poles, both as indispensable tools and as items of fun.

Shackleton

Shackleton: Life and Leadership

From 1 August

This August, to mark the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic (Endurance) Expedition, 1914–17, The Polar Museum will unveil a redesigned and expanded exhibition in its permanent galleries on Shackleton's life and career.

The re-worked displays will explore the life of the young merchant sailor who went on to achieve fame as one of the great Antarctic explorers. He was knighted, received the Polar Medal with three clasps and the Royal Geographical Society's special Gold Medal. Thirteen other nations honoured him with a total of 27 awards. The exhibition will examine his leadership in braving the extreme challenges of the Antarctic.

A larger exhibition titled By Endurance We Conquer will open in September 2015.

Detail, image by Gareth Rees

The Polar Muse

24 September - 20 December 2014

The Polar Muse is a collaboration between The Polar Museum, PN Review and eight of Cambridge's most exciting and innovative poets. The poets have been commissioned to select an object from the collection as inspiration for a new poem, and given access to the full breadth of the Scott Polar Research Institute's library and archive resources to conduct research. From 24 September, their poems will be presented on the glass of the display cases, in front of the object about which they are written, as an added layer of curation and interpretation. The Polar Muse seeks to harness the power of poetry to do what conventional museum interpretation can't do: to engage with objects imaginatively, going beyond the handful of facts you can fit on a musuem label.

The project is funded by Arts Council England.

Thinking of Flying

The Thing Is...

24 September - 20 December 2014

This exhibition explores the many ways in which we consider and care for museum objects, how and why objects gain meaning and why we collect them and their accompanying stories.

Pairing an object from each of the University of Cambridge Museums and the Botanic Gardens with an object taken from the reserve collections at the Polar Museum, The Thing Is … uses innovative touch screen technology to explore the relationships between each pair and invites the public to contribute to the curatorial process. The dialogue between the objects highlights the often surprising correspondences between things and audiences.

You will be able to choose between video, audio and text descriptions to find out about the objects, their histories and connections, and the ways in which we care for them.