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Events & exhibitions

Exhibitions in the museum

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Bringing the Worst Journey in the World to Life

An exhibition by Sarah Airriess

In 1922, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of the youngest survivors of Captain Scott's ill-fated attempt to reach the South Pole, published his memoir of the expedition. The Worst Journey in the World humanised the epic tragedy with its sensitive observations of the men involved and evocative descriptions of Antarctic life.

A century later, this classic of travel literature is being adapted into a series of graphic novels by Disney veteran Sarah Airriess, who has spent over a decade researching the expedition in order to tell the story completely and faithfully. The personalities of the men, and the science they undertook, are equally as important to understanding the story as the famous feats of exploration.

In this exhibition, you can find out about Sarah's work as she brings this remarkable story to life through her graphic adaptation.

Visit the museum and the exhibition for free.

Find out more about the Sarah's work and the new adaption:

Opens to the public from 31 August 2022

Special display

Protective Harbour - print by Pudlo Pudlat

Remembering Sir Ernest Shackleton

On display from 5 January 2022

Known for his resilience, leadership skills and loyalty to his crew, in even the direst of circumstances, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton contributed greatly to the exploration of the Antarctic. In recent years, his legacy has influenced training programmes on the art of leadership and crisis management.

Shackleton participated in four Antarctic expeditions, leading three. Tragically, he died suddenly of heart failure on 5 January 1922, during the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition 1921-22 (Quest), aged 47. He was buried in South Georgia following the request of his wife, Emily, that he be buried as far South as possible.

This small display presents Shackleton's Quest diary. The final four entries feature his notes on the difficulties faced by the crew on the journey, his concerns as a leader and, poignantly, his reflective mood upon arriving in South Georgia.

The final words of his last entry read:
"In the darkening twilight I saw a lone star hover, gem-like above the bay..."

Marking hte 50th anniversary of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment adopting a ten-year moratorium on commercial whaling and the 40th anniversary of the International Whaling Commission vote in 1982 to pause commercial whaling.


On display on Saturdays (weather permitting) from 1 July - 30 September

ReCover is about remembering and hope. Artist Caroline Hack has made a tarpaulin cover for the Institute's whaling harpoon gun, "taking it out of sight, if not out of mind, performing an act of decommissioning and closure. Also it is about hope, hope that the whale populations will recover as some already are, and hope that the industrialised killing of whales will one day cease entirely."

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment adopting a proposal that recommended a ten-year moratorium on commercial whaling to allow whale stocks to recover. Subsequently (23 July 1982), members of the International Whaling Commission voted by the necessary three-quarters majority to implement a pause on commercial whaling.

Online exhibitions

The Big Freeze polar art festival logo

A Century of Polar Research

The Big Freeze art festival presents the work of a range of artists who specialise in the polar regions, together with some of the remarkable material in our collections.

It was made to accompany The Big Freeze Art polar art festival which ran from 4-14 March 2021, and featured a range of films, artist interviews and other activities. You can still watch the films and some of the events on our YouTube channel and on Crowdcast.

Visit the Big Freeze exhibition.

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A Century of Polar Research

This online exhibition accompanies the exhibition on display in the Polar Museum.

On the side of an Antarctic volcano Frank Debenham realised that British polar explorers needed a headquarters – somewhere to share their findings and learn from each other.

The idea for the Scott Polar Research Institute was born, and in 1920 it was officially founded as part of the University of Cambridge. Find out about the Institute's origin as a memorial to Captain Scott and his men, and the pioneering research carried out at the Institute over the last 100 years.

Visit exhibition highlights online.