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Events & exhibitions


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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.

Portrait of Charles Royds

Lt Charles Royds and his Sporting Medal

13 May - 21 July

The Polar Museum is delighted to display a Sporting Medal and tally from the British National Antarctic (Discovery) Expedition, 1901–04, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, kindly lent to us by Lucy Care.

Charles William Rawson Royds volunteered as first lieutenant on board Discovery. He was a meteorologist, and took part in the sledging programme, leading a sledging journey of exploration across the Ross Ice Shelf. Cape Royds on Ross Island was named for him.

When he returned from the expedition, the sporting medal and tally were given to Marguerite Makowski by Charles Royds during their courtship. Marguerite and Charles already knew each other, and first met when Royds was tutoring her brothers in maths. The story told by Marguerite in later life wass that the Royds family did not approve of their relationship and their engagement was subsequently broken off. Marguerite kept the love tokens and passed them down to her grandchildren who have kindly loaned them for this exhibition.

The medal and tally will be featured in a forthcoming edition of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.


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 exhibition 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.