Captain Scott: South for Science
There was much more to Captain Robert Falcon Scottís 1910-13 British Antarctic Expedition than an attempt on the South Pole.
It was a scientific expedition.
The expedition is best remembered for the tragedy which befell Scott and his four companions on the return journey.
One hundred years ago, on 17 January 1912, five men reached the South Pole after labouring for 78 days across 800 miles of Antarctic ice. They had hoped to be the first, but a Norwegian team had beaten them by a month.
All five died on the return journey, and as a result the expedition has long been regarded as the classic example of British heroic failure.But there was much more to Scott's expedition than this.
Teams of scientists explored this last great frontier, bringing back new knowledge of the continent's rocks, weather and wildlife.
Parties of geologists surveyed and mapped unknown lands. Biologists studied and collected penguins, eggs and seals, and dredged the sea floor. Meteorologists recorded the weather and atmospheric conditions. Physicists researched the formation of ice and the movement of glaciers.
The expedition laid the foundations of modern Antarctic science.
In this exhibition, visitors will be able to see a selection of specimens collected during the expedition as well as some of the iconic images of Antarctic exploration through the watercolours of Edward Wilson (1872-1912) and the photographs of Herbert Ponting (1870-1935).
Amongst the specimens on display from the Museumís own collections are the Welsh flag flown on Scottís expedition ship, the Terra Nova, and the shipís figurehead. These are supplemented with specimens lent by the Scott Polar Research Institute, the British Antarctic Survey, and the Natural History Museum.
Poignantly, these include some of the rock samples collected by Scott on his way back from the South Pole and discovered with their frozen bodies in November 1912.
Curator Tom Sharpe recently visited Antarctica and blogged about the trip.
More on Scott and the expedition from our virtual museum, Rhagor: