Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Gallery: Polar Worlds

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Essential information

Opening times: 
10am - 5pm daily
National Maritime Museum

Discover Polar expeditions, indigenous communities, scientific discovery, and Arctic and Antarctic wildlife.


The Polar regions have been a focus for British exploration and scientific enquiry for centuries – and remain so today, in this era of climate change. The Arctic and later the Antarctic became spaces to map and understand, to investigate and discover, to endure and to conquer. They also became theatres of national character and myth – where heroes were made and sometimes lost.

  • See the most experienced of explorers being pushed to the extremes of human endurance through the stories of heroic explorers including Scott and Shackleton.
  • Witness the moving human story behind these historic expeditions through examples of expedition clothing and food supplies accompanied by extracts from explorers’ diaries.
  • Consider the cultural and environmental status of the Arctic and Antarctic regions in the world today, and what the future may hold for these important places.

Four new galleries

The Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Gallery: Polar Worlds is one of four new galleries that opened in September 2018. The other three are:

Sea Things

Sackler Gallery: Pacific Encounters

Pigott Family Gallery: Tudor and Stuart Seafarers


This gallery is also supported by:

  • UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
  • Government of the British Antarctic Territory
  • Transglobe Expedition Trust