Race to the End of the Earth at the AMNH

Uncategorized, exhibit

Race to the End of the Earth documents the story of the British and Norwegian teams of arctic explorers as they each tried to be the first team of  to arrive at the South Pole, nearly 100 years ago, during 1911-1912.

This is  an emotional story of human capabilities, endurance and limitations.

The  limitations of equipment, communication, and the consequences of decisions made by the team leaders lead to the tragedy of the loss of one team and triumph of the other.  Both teams set out  from the Ross Ice Shelf  for the 1,800 mile trip to the Pole and back and tried to overcome Antarctica’s extreme conditions. Their equipment, which was the fine technology of it’s time, seems so wholly inadequate and impossible, that is is utterly astounding that even one team accomplished their goal. I don’t think that I could take a  winter week in the Catskills or Adirondacks with what they used to get to the pole.

The nicely installed exhibit details the preparations of  Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Britain’s Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott, and displays their equipment, instruments, photos, film, letters, personal effects etc. It brings us up-to-date to today’s exploration  of the South Pole,  and what scientists are learning about Antarctica’s landscape under the ice, and how people manage to live year-round in this forbidding and fascinating place.

This is an exhibit with real depth that is best for adults and older children, 10 and above. There are lovely depictions of penguins, but this would not be enough to keep young children interested while the adults are drawn into this fascinating story.

Race the End of the Earth at the,  AMNH, 79th Street and Central Park West, in New York,  opens on Saturday , May 29, 2010  and will be open through January 2, 2011. Get tickets in advance.

(Photos will be added today)

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