skip to primary navigation skip to content


You are not currently logged in

SPRI Polar Directory


Go to: Introductory page or country:

There are 17 entries in the museums directory for United Kingdom:

Jump down to:

Aberdeenshire Museums Service & Discovery Centre

Contact name: Helen Chavez
Address: Aberdeenshire Museums Service & Discovery Centre Station Road Mintlaw Aberdeenshire AB42 5EE
Telephone: 01771 622807
Fax: 01771 623558
Open to the public? / Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-4:30pm
Year of foundation: 2004
Activities: Permanent displays, temporary exhibitions, collaborative academic research, community engagement and educational work.
Collections: Includes extensive Arctic whaling collections focused on the whaling fleet of Peterhead, fishing, merchant shipping (especially the Baltic herring trade) and maritime art. Some polar exploration material including the Flora Artica of Captain Francis Crozier of HMS TERROR, including a letter written on board the vessel before setting out on the Franklin Expedition in 1845.

^ Top

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

Address: Clarence St., Cheltenham, Gloucs GL50 3JT
Telephone: +44-1242-237431
Fax: +44-1242-262334
Year of foundation: 1899
Collections: Houses paintings and other memorabilia relating to E.A. Wilson, who reached the South Pole with Scott on 17 January 1912 and died on the return journey.

^ Top

Discovery Point

Address: Dundee Heritage Ltd., Discovery Quay, Dundee DD1 4XA
Telephone: +44-1382-201245
Fax: +44-1382-225891
Year of foundation: 1993
Collections: Visitor centre focused on RRS Discovery, the polar research ship built for Scott's first Antarctic expedition (1901-04), and used subsequently during the Discovery Investigations (1925-27) and by BANZARE (1929-31). Discovery was built in Dundee and returned there in 1986.

^ Top

Gilbert White & The Oates Collections

Contact name: Kimberley James
Address: Gilbert Whites House, High Street, Selborne, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 3JH
Telephone: +44-1420-511275
Open to the public? / Opening hours: 1 Apr -31 Oct: Tues-Sun 10:30-17:15; 1 Nov- 31 Mar: Tues-Sun 10:30-16:30; 1 Jan- Feb Half Term: Fri-Sun 10:30-16:30; 1 Jul-31 Aug: Mon-Sun 10:30-17:15
Year of foundation: 1955
Collections: The Oates Collections are housed jointly with the Gilbert White Museum. Collections and displays include materials relating to L.E.G. Oates, who reached the South Pole with Scott on 17 January 1912 and died on the return journey.

^ Top

Hull Maritime Museum

Contact name: Robin Diaper
Address: Queen Victoria Square, Hull, HU1 3RA
Telephone: +44-1482-614309
Open to the public? / Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10.00-17.00; Sunday 13.30-16.30
Year of foundation: 1975
Activities: Permanent displays, temporary exhibitions, collaborative academic research, community engagement and educational work.
Collections: Includes extensive Arctic whaling and scrimshaw collections, fishing, merchant shipping and maritime art. Some polar exploration material in store.

See also

^ Top

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Contact name: For information on, and access to, the collections, please contact the relevant collection manager: Archaeology - Ms Imogen Gunn; Anthropology - Ms Rachel Hand; Photographs - Dr Jocelyne Dudding
Address: University of Cambridge, Downing St., Cambridge CB2 3DZ
Telephone: +44-1223-333516
Fax: +44-1223-333503
Open to the public? / Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10.30-16.30. Sunday: 12.00-16.30
Year of foundation: 1884
Activities: Collaborative research and exhibitions, education and outreach activities
Collections: Archaeology, Anthropology & Photographs. MAA holds a varied collection with c.6,500 objects and c.2,500 photographs. Greenland and Canada are especially well-represented. Key collections include the Wordie Arctic Expeditions (1934-37), British Arctic Air Route Expedition (1930-31) and the Rowley- Bazin collection of Dorset material from Awaaja. Material was also obtained through exchanges with Layola College (Capt. Joseph Bernard collection, 1916-20) and the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen (Tasiilaq, Greenland and Melville Peninsula). Several items were also acquired in Prince William Sound, the Aleutian Islands and St Laurence Bay, Chuckotka on the third voyage of Captain James Cook in 1778. An 2011 Art Fund RENEW grant has enabled the acquisition of 19 contemporary works on paper by artists such as Suvinai Ashoona, Kavavaow Mannomee, Nawpachee, Jessie Oonark.Aoudla Pudlat, Pudlo Pudlat, Kananginak Pootookook, Napachie Pootoogook and Pitaloosie Saila. Selected material is displayed in both the archaeological and anthropological galleries. The research collections may be made available by prior written appointment.
Publications: Julia Tanner, From Pacific Shores: 18th century ethnographic collections at Cambridge, Cambridge, 1999

^ Top

Museum of Mankind (Ethnography Department of the British Museum)

Address: 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1X 2EX
Telephone: +44-171-323-8043
Fax: +44-171-323-8013
Year of foundation: 1753
Collections: Extensive Arctic collection including material obtained during the voyages of James Cook (1776-80), John Ross (1818), F.W. Beechey (1825-28), and the Franklin Search expeditions (1847-1859). The major collections are the Sloane Collection (1753), the Cook Collection (1780), the Belcher Collection (1842 and 1872) and the Barrow Collection (1855). More recently acquired material relates to Alaska and Nunavut. There are no current diplays but a new North American Gallery is planned to open in 1997 at the British Museum. Library
Publications: Occasional catalogues.

^ Top

National Maritime Museum (NMM)

Address: Greenwich, London SE1O 9NF
Telephone: +44-181-858-4422
Fax: +44-181-312-6632
Year of foundation: 1934
Collections: Excellent collections and displays for British maritime history, both naval and merchant, including many items of polar interest. Over 4,000 oil paintings including depictions of polar exploration from Barents (1594-97) onwards. The library and archives are the world's largest in their field
Publications: Catalogue of the Library (1968-); Concise catalogue of oil paintings in the National Maritime Museum; Guide to the historic photographs collection of the National Maritime Museum (Stonham, 1994); Guide to the manuscripts in the National Maritime Museum (Knight 1977, 1980); Maritime Monographs and Reports (1970-)

^ Top

National Museum of Scotland

Address: Chambers St., Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Telephone: +44-131-225-7534
Fax: +44-131-220-4819
Year of foundation: 1986 [created by merger of National Museum of Antiquities (1780) with Royal Scottish Museum (1854)]
Collections: In addition to nineteenth century artefacts from Arctic and subarctic America, Greenland and Siberia, the major collections of polar interest are those of William Speirs Bruce, whose papers and specimens were deposited here when the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory was disbanded in 1921. No polar items are currently on display but all stored collections are accessible on appointment
Publications: A catalogue of Northern Athapaskan Indian artifacts in the collection of the Royal Scottish Museum (Idiens, 1979); Manuscripts in the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh, part 2: William S. Bruce papers and diary of A. Forbes Mackay (Pitman, 1982); Polar Scots: Scottish explorers in the Arctic and Antarctic (Bunyan, 1986)

^ Top

Natural History Museum, Library and Archives

Address: Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD
Telephone: +44-20-7942-5460
Open to the public? / Opening hours: Tuesday–Friday 10:00–16:30 (by appointment)
Year of foundation: 1881
Collections: Printed books, journals, original artwork and manuscripts collection relating to: Botany, Earth Sciences (Palaeontology, Mineralogy, Physical Anthropology), Entomology, Zoology, General Natural History and Ornithology
Publications: Journal of Systematic Palaeontology ISSN 1477-2019 (Print), ISSN 1478-0941 (Online) Systematics and Biodiversity ISSN 1477-2000 (Print), ISSN 1478-0933 (Online) Published by Taylor & Francis on behalf of the Natural History Museum

Follow us on twitter @nhm_library

^ Top

Pitt Rivers Museum

Address: University of Oxford, Parks Rd., Oxford OX1 3PP
Telephone: +44-1865-270927
Fax: +44-1865-270943
Year of foundation: 1884
Collections: Extensive ethnographic collections from Alaska, Greenland and Siberia, much 19th century. Greenland collections include kayaks, dogs sleds and costumes. Library
Publications: Eskimos of Northwest Alaska in the early nineteenth century based on the Beechey and Belcher Collections and records compiled during the voyage of H.M.S. Blossom to Northwest Alaska in 1826 and 1827 (Bockstoce 1977)

^ Top

Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI). The Polar Museum.

Address: University of Cambridge, Lensfield Rd., Cambridge CB2 1ER
Telephone: +44-1223-336540
Fax: +44-1223-336549
Year of foundation: 1920
Collections: It houses permanent exhibits relating to Arctic peoples, British exploration of the Arctic (particularly Franklin's Last Expedition and the Franklin Searches) and the Antarctic (Scott, Shackleton, Bruce, British Graham Land), as well as displays on polar science, Inuit sculpture and scrimshaw. Entry is free. For further information, please see the website. The associated polar library and archives are accessible by appointment.

^ Top

Stromness Museum

Address: 52 Alfred St., Stromness, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Telephone: +44-1856-850025
Year of foundation: 1837
Collections: Exhibitions depicting the strong links between Orkney and Hudson Bay, Arctic whaling, and the Moravian Mission to Labrador. The collections including whaling hunting tools, scrimshaw, Eskimo and Indian artefacts, and memorabilia of John Rae including his Halkett Air Boat
Publications: The ice-bound whalers (Troup, 1987)

^ Top

Tewkesbury Museum

Contact name: Maggie Thornton
Address: 64 Barton Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 5SP
Telephone: 01684 292901
Open to the public? / Opening hours: March-August: Tuesday-Friday 13.00-16.00, Saturday 11.00-16.00
Year of foundation: 1967
Activities: Tewkesbury Museum is an independent charitable trust which aims to collect and preserve objects of relevance to the history of the area covered by the town and surrounding villages. The Museum will place special emphasis on the educational potential of its collections by documenting, conserving, promoting, and providing access to our collections and archives.
Collections: We have an eclectic collection relating to everyday life and people in Tewkesbury through the ages. This includes Raymond Priestley who traveled to the Antarctic with both Shackleton and Scott.

^ Top

The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum

Address: Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DA
Telephone: +44 (0) 1382 30 7200
Open to the public? / Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 17:00; Sunday 12:30 – 16:30; Last entry is 15 minutes before gallery closing time.
Year of foundation: 1867
Activities: The McManus annually hosts a number of special exhibitions; these often reveal rarely seen works from the museum collections or share some stunning works of art, photography, paintings or sculpture that are touring from other renowned galleries collections. The McManus runs a regular programme of activities and events, including crafty fun activities from the Creative Learning team and captivating behind the scenes tours from the Collections Unit. There is definitely something to entertain people of all ages and a trip to visit can make the perfect family day out.
Collections: Dundee's Nationally Significant whaling collection illustrates the importance of whaling to Dundee in the 50 years prior to the First World War. It includes harpoons, ship models, images, craft items and records of vessels and their crews as well as the 40 foot skeleton of the Tay Whale. There is also a collection of Inuit material brought back to Dundee by whalers.
Publications: Cultures of the World: the ethnographic collections of Dundee Art Galleries and Museums (1994) Ancestors in the Arctic : A Photographic History of Dundee Whaling (2013)

^ Top

University of Aberdeen Museums

Address: King’s Museum, University of Aberdeen, Old Aberdeen Town House, High Street, Aberdeen, AB24 3EN
Telephone: +44-1224-274301
Open to the public? / Opening hours: Tuesday–Saturday: 11.30-16.30
Year of foundation: 1786
Collections: Ethnographic collections: Arctic North America / Greenland - principally Inuit. Including c. 1720 Greenlandic kayak

Please note that not all collections are currently on display. Appointments can be made to view material currently in storage on request.

^ Top

Whitby Museum

Address: Pannett Park, Whitby YO21 1RE, North Yorkshire
Telephone: +44-1947-602908
Year of foundation: 1823
Collections: Displays relating to James Cook, William Scoresby Sr and Jr, and the whaling industry. Includes instruments designed by Scoresby Jr for Arctic research, also logbooks and papers for both Scoresbys
Publications: Monographs

^ Top