Co-curating The Year That Made Antarctica

The Polar Museum tested out co-curation for their recent exhibition – the varied team ensured that a wide cast of characters made an appearance in ‘The Year That Made Antarctica’.

There’s just one month left to run of our current exhibition at the Polar Museum: The Year That Made Antarctica – People, Politics and the International Geophysical Year (IGY). Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the exhibition explores the diplomatic and logistical challenges of setting up a science programme in one of the World’s most remote places. The year not only produced scientific results that are still important for us today as we study our changing planet, it also broke new ground in establishing the entire Antarctic continent as a place reserved for peaceful and scientific activity.

Click here to keep reading on the University of Cambridge Museums blog…

Visions of the Great White South

This summer I had the opportunity to curate a wonderful exhibition. Bonhams, who sponsor the Artist in Residence programme at the Scott Polar Research Institute, kindly offered us the use of their showrooms in New Bond Street to hold a temporary exhibition. We eagerly took them up on their offer, and decided not only to feature some of our fantastic artists in residence, but also to display some of our historic collection as well.


Here I am, trying to look natural for the cameras while holding one of our platinum-palladium prints of Scott stood by his sledge, beautifully produced by Salto-Ulbeek

When Captain Scott was planning his second Antarctic expedition, usually known by the name of its ship the Terra Nova, he appointed his good friend Edward Wilson as the Chief Scientist. He also hired a photographer, Herbert Ponting, who preferred to be known as a camera artist. Ponting and Wilson liked and respected one another, and we know from their diaries that they discussed holding a joint exhibition of their work. Unfortunately Wilson perished along with Scott on the return journey from the pole, and the exhibition never happened.

We thought the opportunity at Bonhams was too good to miss – so a little over a century later we were able to reunite the works of Wilson and Ponting in one exhibition. You can find out more in this clip, broadcast on BBC Breakfast.