Yesterday I went to the American Museum of Natural History here in New York and checked out the Exhibit called Race to the End of the Earth. It is about how Roald Amundsen of Norway and Robert Falcon Scott of England were both trying to reach the South Pole at the same time in 1911. It was an epic race (although it didnt start out as a race). Quite a story, and rather than trying to retell it myself you should visit the American Museum of Natural History’s Race to the End of the Earth Site. Or listen to NPR’s story about the exhibit on Science Friday. I’ll just say, one team had an easier time than the other.
Scott saw the trip as a scientific expedition. So he took along about 60 men, many of them scientists, and planed to collect specimens and document what he saw. Here’s a camera Scott took along.
And a movie camera:
He brought materials to build cabins. The museum had a replica of part of Scott’s office/bedoom.
Amundsen had different ideas about how to explore the arctic. As a Norwegian, he had confidence in his men’s skiing abilities for one thing. But he also decided to use techniques of inuit peoples he had previously encountered to his advantage. instead of cabins his living spaces and basecamp looked more like Echo Base on Hoth.
Scott thought he had technology on his side. He brought along several motorized sledges. This diorama depicts a sledge breaking down and the men realizing they’d have to haul this stuff with man-power.
Scott also had the great idea of using the noble pony as the pack animal of choice. Ernest Shackelton had used ponies, and what was good enough for Shackelton was good enough for Scott. This miniature depicts the little coats the had to give the ponies and the snow wall they had to build to block the wind to protect the ponies from the extreme cold.
I won’t tell you what happened to the Ponies.
Amundsen, of course had learned that the real pack animal you have to have in this climate is the rough and tumble sled dog.
This little scene gives you an idea of how miserably cold it was. These men are storing supplies along the route to use on the trip back.
I won’t tell you how it turned out. I will tell you not all of those return supplies were utilized. Go visit the museum if you can or check out these links:
American Museum of Natural History’s Race to the End of the Earth Site
NPR’s story about the exhibit on Science FridayFuji FinePix REAL 3D W1 Camera, Museums | No Comments »