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Event details

Palace Green Library

Antarctica : Explorers Heroes Scientists

17 October 2015 - 7 February 2016
Palace Green Library

This winter, our exhibitions consider the Polar Regions, focusing particularly on the discovery, exploration and ongoing work taking place in Antarctica.

This includes two spectacular exhibitions on loan from the Royal Geographical Society, alongside displays exploring how men and women from the North East of England have contributed to our understanding of this most recently discovered continent, from the work of Captain Cook to Durham University scientists who are working in Antarctica today.

With Scott to the Pole

A Royal Geographical Society Touring Exhibition

Historic photographs of this ill-fated Antarctic expedition, taken by Herbert Ponting, tell an unforgettable tale both epic and human in scale. In 1910 Captain Robert Falcon Scott set out for the Antarctic, a journey from which he did not return. Having reached the South Pole, he died on the return journey along with his colleagues, just 17.5 km (11 miles) from the safety of a supply depot. Ponting’s images offer a poignant and revealing glimpse of life in a hostile environment and document everyday scenes, from the beauty of Antarctica’s landscapes to the men relaxing on the Terra Nova deck.

Antarctic Witness

A Royal Geographical Society Touring Exhibition

Chart the dramatic events of Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-16 and experience this extraordinary journey as seen through the eyes of Frank Hurley, official photographer to the expedition. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Antarctic, Hurley’s artistry as a photographer is revealed as he captures daily life on board the Endurance and later on the ice as Shackleton and his crew are left stranded after their ship meets a dramatic end. Shackleton’s efforts to rescue his crew are now legendary, partly due to Hurley’s amazing visual testimony, which is recorded in 120 glass plates that are now part of the Royal Geographical Society’s photographic archive. These incredible photographs, form the centrepiece of this dramatic exhibition in winter 2015, charting exploration, environments and climate change.

Antarctic Science Today

A new exhibition exploring the work of Durham University researchers in Antarctica working with the British Antarctic Survey. Find out how scientists live and work in Antarctica, and what information they are gathering to help us to understand the past, present and future impacts of climate and sea level change - widely recognised as amongst the biggest challenges to life on our planet.

An exciting programme of public talks, events for schools and family activities will accompany this exhibition.