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Ms Henrietta Hammant

Ms Henrietta Hammant

Collections Coordinator

Job share (40%) with Laura Ibbett


My interest in the polar regions began as an undergraduate. During that time I spent many hours in the library at SPRI and later visited northern Alaska to research my dissertation on human-polar bear relations. I went on to study for a postgraduate degree which introduced me to the world of museums, and it was with aspirations to combine these dual interests that I moved to Canada. For two years I worked in a variety of museums including the Itsanitaq Museum in Churchill, Manitoba (the 'Polar Bear Capital of the World').

On my return to the UK I was appointed Collections Project Cataloguer at the Polar Museum. Then, in September 2020 I began my doctoral research at the University of Reading. Now with a focus on the Antarctic, I am interested in the influence of museum practice in the interpretation of 'Heroic Age' Antarctic explorers. I take up the role of Collections Coordinator alongside my studies.


  • Jan 2023 - present: Collections Coordinator, Polar Museum
  • Sep 2020 - present: PhD candidate in the Anthropology of Heritage (Reading)
  • Mar 2019 - Sep 2020: Collections Project Cataloguer, Polar Museum
  • May 2018 - Nov 2018: Assistant Curator, Itsanitaq Museum


  • MSc Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology (Oxford)
  • BA Archaeology and Anthropology (Cambridge)


Museum objects and the 'heroes' of early British Antarctic exploration

My doctoral research considers museum collections related to the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration – a period generally regarded as running from the late 19th to the early 20th century – and the British explorers of this period. I ask how shifting socio-political contexts have informed the categorisation of certain figures as 'heroic'; led to the objects of Antarctic exploration being accessioned into museum collections; and enabled museums to perpetuate 'heroic' thinking through their collections. Revealing these entangled histories will expose the ongoing visible and invisible power plays that have been enacted on museum collections over time.

External activities

  • Member of the Museums Association
  • Member of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Member of the Museum Ethnographers Group