Polar exploration

Wrap up warm and take a journey to the icy ends of the earth. From the countless attempts to find the fabled North-West Passage in the Arctic Circle, to the race to reach the South Pole, read about the triumphs and the tragedies of history's polar explorers.

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Sir John Franklin made three attempts to find the North-West Passage. His final voyage in 1845 in HMS Erebus and HMS Terror ended in tragedy for him and all his men, becoming the worst disaster in the history of British polar exploration. 

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Explorer Luke Foxe led an expedition to search for the North-West Passage in 1631. He set out at the same time as rival explorer Thomas James.

Since North-West Passage exploration began over 400 years ago the polar ice caps have started to melt due to global warming.

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William Edward Parry was a key figure in the discovery of the North-West Passage. He made three voyages to find it and his research was invaluable.

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A relic of Sir John Franklin's tragic expedition 1845-48.

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James Clark Ross was one of the great polar explorers, a star of his day who used the Pole Star to discover the North Pole. 

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Follow us on a journey to learn how the famous explorer, Robert Falcon Scott’s ski overshoes were prepared for display in the new Polar Worlds gallery.

Captain Markham's most northerly encampment (BHC0640)

The Caird Library holds many stories from those who made journeys to the poles. 

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'Aurora Australis' was the "first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in the Antarctic".

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Discover incredible facts about Antarctica, learn about past expeditions to the continent, and find out why it is the most inhospitable place on Earth.

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