Exploring we will go!

It was a drizzly, grey Wednesday morning but our smiles were bright and we were in high spirits as we boarded the train to Cambridge. For some of us, it was our first ever train ride! We were off to the Scott Polar Research Museum to find out more about polar exploration.

The bust of Captain Scott, created by his widow, has pride of place above the entrance to the museum. The sculpture has been criticised by many for not making Captain Scott look heroic enough. But we thought it was just perfect, and who better to create an image of Scott than the person who knew him best – his wife, Kathleen Scott.

Inside the entrance to the museum, looking up were able to admire stunning frescos of both the Arctic and Antarctica. We were interested to see the ever changing ice sheets of the Arctic through the last century. The effects of climate change are painfully evident.

We enjoyed exploring the museum and seeing first hand some of the treasures Scott and Shackleton collected on their expeditions. Opening drawers revealed extracts from Captain Scott’s diary and letters he wrote to his wife. We found these extracts particularly moving, especially the letter Scott wrote addressed to his ‘beloved widow’.

The emperor penguin with its chick and eggs was interesting to see up close. So too was the polar bear skin. This had been donated to the museum many decades ago and the museum staff were keen to ask our opinion as to whether it should be displayed or not in 2024. They will feed back our thoughts to the museum curators.

Wow! The bell from Captain Scott’s ship, the Terra Nova! Today the students and researchers at the Institute still ring the bell every day at 10.30am. It is their signal that it’s coffee time! We think Captain Scott used the bell for something different!

We loved making use of the lecture theatre at the back of the Institute, used by students and researches today. We think Cambridge University would be lucky to have us studying with them!

It is hard to imagine exploring such harsh environments with, by today’s standards, pretty primitive looking clothing and equipment. Modern technology and the development of synthetic fabrics has made polar exploration and scientific research in this part of the world so much easier.

What an incredible place! We came, we saw, we learnt lots, we conquered the polar regions!

Wishing you all a very happy half term break.