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SPRI Review 2011: Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach

Over 6000 people participated in learning activities at the Polar Museum during 2011. Over 2600 children and young people participated in learning workshops covering topics ranging from famous people and the history of exploration to climate change and Arctic cultures. In addition, almost 1200 adults visited for formal tours of the museum, and over 2500 adults, children and young people participated in informal activities coordinated by the University Museums, such as the Science Festival, Festival of Ideas, Twilight, Summer in the Museum and other open days. The learning-programme activities reflected a new approach to education and public engagement at SPRI, exploring the three distinct but overlapping topics of Polar Exploration and Heritage, Arctic Cultures and Polar Science. Highlights of the year included meeting Inuit doll-makers from Northern Canada, a symposium gathering international experts to discuss aspects of the lives of Scott and Amundsen to begin our Scott Centenary programme, and a family day meeting Greenlandic and Canadian Eskimo Huskies and learning more about their role in the history of polar exploration through objects in the museum and directly from the polar explorers themselves.

In Summer 2011, we introduced The Cool Club, a programme of holiday activities where children aged 7 to 11 came face to face with seven different polar scientists to learn more about their research through tailor-made ‘hands-on’ experiments and activities. All 84 places on offer were filled, and the club developed a loyal following of children and parents. SPRI research student, Allen Pope took a poster on the subject of The Cool Club to the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, generating new international relationships with other educators at centres of excellence in the field.

Sophie Weeks