I have been for a week in Washington DC and had very good meetings and archive stays and very informative museum visits. The Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian) was very interesting but it will be renovated in sections over the next 10 years. So I came just in time.
It was not that much visible Antarctic connections in Washington DC but the people involved in Antarctic research do their best to change that. Dian Belanger was an inspiration for me. She wrote the book: Deep Freeze. The United States and the International Geophysical Year and the origins of Antarctica’s age of science (2006). Her publication can be seen as textbook for the International Geophysical Year and the US.
Ellsworth’s plane – Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, Washington DC, Picture taken by Ursula Rack, March 2018
Currently I am in Columbus, Ohio, and on 12 March I start a week in the Byrd Polar Research Archives. I am looking forward to start my studies there.
At the weekend I will travel to Bremerhaven, Germany, to continue my work. On 20 March I will give a Lunchtime Talk at the German Maritime Museum on my NZWCM-Fellowship and the involved research I undertake currently.
My preparations are coming along, finally, and the countdown started: 4 March I will leave Christchurch – heading towards Washington, Columbus (Ohio), Bremerhaven, Cambridge, and London. All the meetings are organised and I have a long list of questions and ideas for my project: Frozen history – how other countries research, collect and communicate their Antarctic history. It is getting bigger with each contact I made so far and I am looking forward to starting it.
I also have some side events and one of them is a presentation in Cambridge on Wilhelm Filchner, the German polar explorer (1911-1912); 11 April, Friends of SPRI 6-7 pm.
Third announcement on that page 🙂
In December, I got an invitation from the NZ Antarctic Society, Wellington Branch, to be part of the speakers series in February. The speakers series is part of the exhibition: “Lessons from the Antarctic” How Amundsen won the race to the South Pole. It is organised by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the NZ Antarctic Society.
My talk was on the race to the South Pole in its historical context. The title “We took risks. We knew we took them” from a quote from Scott’s diary, should show the audience that it was a risky business (and is still today) in exploring the Antarctic and that the early explorers were well aware of that. The historical context is often overlooked. The economic, political and scientific aims at going South were strongly linked with each other and I wanted to demonstrate this on several examples related to the “race”.
The event on Wednesday started with a movie about the Amundsen expedition and was followed by my talk. There were over 100 people in the audience and they got very engaged in the discussion afterward.
The Norwegian Honorary Consul General, Graeme Mitchel, thanked me at the end of the evening and presented a beautifully handcrafted polar bear of clear glass that looks like a piece of clear ice.
On Monday, 5 February, I was busy. I gave a guided tour for one person through Christchurch to show the connection between the city and the Antarctic. We were lucky to have access to the Canterbury Club where I could show the signed menus from Shackleton’s farewell dinner in 1907. With the historic interior of this Club, it was easy to create a feeling of the time and the man who went South. The Scott statue, the museum and the stain glassed window in the Great Hall were also on the programm. The tour was planned for two hours but I went back to his accommodation and told on the way more stories and facts what was highly appreciated as he pointed out in his email: “Thank you so very much for everything you did for me this morning, it was a sheer delight to meet you and your enthusiasm will stay with me forever. I consider your Heritage Tour an essential precursor to anyone and everyone going to visit the Antarctic, it will add so much more meaning to what I am about to experience.”
An hour later, I was on my way to Parklands to the Parklands’ Ladies Club. I have been invited already in December to deliver that talk on “how to live in the Antarctic” – it was successful again and comments from some women afterward are summed up in following statement: “your talk was the most intersting since some long time”.
Finally – a HISTORIAN in the Antarctic (PCAS 2014 – 15)
Good news arrived this morning in an email: all my abstracts for SCAR POLAR 2018 have been accepted:
The OC-3 “The role of museums in promoting polar heritage and advancing polar science” abstract “How nations research, collect and communicate their Antarctic history” is accepted as oral (22. June, 16-17:30 pm)
The SH-3 “Historical perspectives on Arctic and Antarctic connections” abstract “Whaling, claims and a doctoral thesis from 1940” is accepted as poster (21 June, 17:30 -18:30 pm)
The co-author abstract: “Historic Antarctic Peninsula maps and diary accounts linked to GIS databases” is as poster accepted in session SH-8 “Data science for polar environments – discovery, rescue and mining” (22 June, 17:30 – 18:30 pm)
Session SH-8 is on Saturday 23 June from 9 – 10:30 am what is on the last day of the conference. I am the lead-convenor and chair of that session.
I also registered for the Software Carpentry & HPC workshop that is being organized for June 16-17. This workshop is for programming for data management. This will be a novum for me but I have to start somewhere….
I think this conference will keep me busy.
I have been invited to give a presentation in Wellington on 14 February 2018, on the race to the South Pole in 1912 (see link) NZAntSocWB-2018-02-14 Race to the South Pole-Rack
“Lessons from the Antarctic” How Amundsen won the race to the South Pole is the theme of the series of talks. Panels to Roald Amundsen’s biography are exhibited in Wellington all February and are accompanied by public talks. The panels were displayed also here in Christchurch during the Antarctic Season Opening in October 2017.
The “Amundsen panels” are in Wellington exhibited for the whole February. The NZAS Wellington Branch is the organiser of the talks and the Norwegian Embassy is supporting these events.
I am looking forward to this event!