It’s been a long time coming, but after seventeen months of working away in the basement examining and photographing our Antarctic objects for the Antarctic Cataloguing Project, I’m pleased to announce that the catalogue is now live on the museum’s website! The catalogue is by no means complete – I’ve still got another seven months on the project and probably another 500 objects to look at it – but it’s great to finally be able make available what we’ve done so far.
Over 1500 records are now available online, of which 900 currently have images. This includes clothing and footwear, snowshoes and crampons, skis, goggles, medals and coins, domestic and personal equipment, foodstuffs, animal equipment such as whips and harnesses, scientific equipment, and geological and natural history specimens. It covers material from the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton in the 1900s and 1910s, the British Graham Land Expedition in the 1930s, the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition in the 1950s, the Transglobe Expedition in the 1980s, and the expeditions of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, as well as many others. More images will be added as the objects are photographed, and more records will be added as the cataloguing progresses.
As well as continuing to populate the online catalogue, we also intend to improve it. We want to increase the number of fields that are displayed to include further classifications (such as geographical and UDC classifications), add information about production (such as the name of the person/organisation which manufactured the item, as well as details of place and date of manufacture), and add references and details of related objects (both within the Museum’s collections and across SPRI’s Archive and Picture Library collections). We are also developing an advanced search which will enable users to search by such things as object name, associated person or expedition, classification and place.
Ultimately, we also hope to be able to hyperlink to biographical records about people, organisations and expeditions which have been created by a team of volunteers as part of a joint Museum and Archive project, and to hyperlink to records for related objects.
While this is very much a work in progress, we’re really excited to have something to share so please do take a look ath the Antarctic Catalogue. We’d love to hear what you think and would really welcome your feedback – get in touch with us on Twitter or comment on our Facebook page.