Art & Culture — 17 January 2012
Discover Captain Scott’s Last Expedition at the Natural History Museum

On 17 January 1912, exactly one hundred years ago today, Captain Scott and his team reached the South Pole to discover that they had been beaten by a Norwegian team, led by Roald Amundsen.

What happened next is legend. Scott’s team, suffering from frostbite and malnutrition, tried valiantly to walk back almost 1,000 miles to their supply depot. They failed, and the last few members, including Scott himself, were found dead in their tents, just 11 miles from their salvation.

To commemorate the occasion the Natural History Museum is hosting Scott’s Last Expedition, which will run from 20 January until 2 September.

The exhibit will not just look at the tragic story of the Terra Nova expedition but also at its lesser known scientific achievements, reuniting many of the samples and equipment for the first time in a century.

Prior to the expedition, little had been known about Antarctica, but Scott took the largest scientific team to have ever visited the continent.

Even on the return trek, when weakening, Scott’s team stopped to collect further samples. As a direct result the museum now houses more than 40,000 specimens brought back by the survivors.

The exhibition focuses on Terra Nova’s scientific legacy, which is still drawn on by researchers in the 21st century, such as the longest unbroken record of Antarctica’s weather, a record that is still the baseline against which modern estimates about issues such as global-warming are factored. Many of these samples will be on display.

Visitors will also be able to enter a life-sized replica of the base-camp hut used by the intrepid explorers that contained items such as a bread-making oven, gramophone, laboratory and a photographic darkroom.

Scott’s Last Expedition open daily between 10.00-17.50. Tickets cost £9 for adults; concessions and children cost £5.50. Tickets can be booked online here.

Scott’s Last Expedition
20 January – 2 September

Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Underground: South Kensington
Cost: adults £9 children and concessions £5.50

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