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About the archive

About the archive

The Thomas H Manning Polar Archives and SPRI Picture Library aims to provide a detailed insight of British polar activities relating to the science, exploration, history, geography, environment, business and administration of the Arctic and Antarctic undertaken by British expeditions, explorers, businesses and Government.

This is achieved by collecting, documenting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting archive and photographic collections.

The Archives and Picture Library are open to anyone wishing to carry out research into any aspect of the Polar Regions.

Scope and content

The archive covers written documents relating to the Polar Regions.

The Antarctic papers cover all parts of the continent and surrounding islands.

The Arctic papers cover primarily the exploration of northern Canada, Greenland and Svalbard.

Please be aware that archive collections can vary greatly in their contents. Whilst a series of letters, journals, stores lists and maps may exist for one expedition that does not mean all expeditions will have retained the same items, similarly collections created by individuals vary widely.

The archive also looks after the Institute's unframed 2D art collection.

Photographic collections

The Institute's extensive photographic collections, oral history recordings and film are looked after by the SPRI Picture Library.