Scott Polar Research Institute
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Scott Polar Research Institute information
The Scott Polar Institute, founded with part of the relief fund set up in the wake of the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole, these days takes a lead role in climate change research and has an excellent museum that focuses on polar exploration, charting the feats of the likes of Amundsen, Nansen and Scott himself. Regardless of whether you see Scott as a valiant explorer or a vain, poorly prepared expedition leader whose bad decisions led to the demise of his team, it's difficult not to be moved by the collection of artefacts, such as paintings, photographs, clothing, equipment and maps, journals and last messages left for loved ones by Scott's polar crew.
Other engaging exhibits include models of ships that ventured into the frigid Arctic and Antarctic waters, innovative equipment such as the 'Nansen cooker', and interactive displays on ice and climate change. In the section devoted to the people of the Arctic, you can examine Inuit carvings and scrimshaw (etched bones), a Sámi knife with a carved reindeer-horn sheath, a walrus tusk with walrus hunt scenes etched on it, and particularly fine examples of tupilaat (carved caribou horn figures with ancestor souls captured inside) from Greenland. For an entertaining free guided tour, contact independent tour guide Kay Smith in advance.