Scott’s last expedition

Just been to see Scott’s last exhibition at the Canterbury Museum. It is a joint exhibition with the National History Museum and the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

For those interested in and/or the age of exploration, it’s a great exhibition. They have many original artifacts from his last expedition, and have even got a life-size model of Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans where 25 men lived and worked. The Antarctic Heritage Trust maintain the actual hut, which would be an incredible thing to observe.

The exhibition tells the story of the ill-fated Terra Nova exhibition. Most of us know the basic story including Oates saying “I am just going outside and I may be some time.” and Scott’s final words of “It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more. R. Scott. For God’s sake look after our people.“. Oates’ body was never found. There are photos of the burial site and cross for Scott, but they estimate this is now under around 75 feet of ice.

But you also see and hear about other aspects such as the journey to Cape Crozier for Emperor Penguin eggs. In temperatures as low as -60 °C, and blizzards with force 11 winds, they survived in an igloo and tents. Amazing endurance and survival.

The deaths of Scott and the other four are controversial. His reputation was as a hero initially, then as a bungler, and in later years more balanced. For my 2c I think their deaths were a combination of some poor planning decisions but also some of the most extreme weather that the continent has seen.

A very good and interesting exhibition. They also have a permanent more general Antarctica display on their third floor.

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