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a vintage photo of a woman

A new exhibition is set to open in a couple of weeks at the Canterbury Museum and, with it, the one chance many will have to ever see up close the various items used by the first explorers in their battle against the inhospitable Antarctic landscape.

Breaking the Ice: The First Year in Antarctica promises some incredible insight into life on the ice in the early days of polar exploration. The exhibition is a result of a close working partnership between the museum and the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

A large number of items have been retrieved from two huts used by Carsten Borchgrevink’s Southern Cross and Robert Scott’s Terra Nova expeditions. The two huts are the only examples left of the first dwellings in Antarctica, and the items on display have significant historical importance.

It’s why these items were so carefully preserved at Canterbury Museum’s conservation laboratory by an international team of experts. Over 1400 artifacts were worked on by the team, their

At the heart of the exhibition is a century old fruitcake and a water colour artwork painted by Dr Edward Wilson, who died along with Captain Scott on the ice.

Besides the cake and the art visitors will be able to study a range of scientific equipment, clothing and sledging supplies. This rare look into early life on the ice provides a glimpse into how these early explorers could cope within such testing conditions. They were the first to build dwellings on the ice, the first use huskies, the first to record a year of climate data, and much, much more.

If a picture tells a story the many special artifacts within the exhibition deliver a clearer picture of these remarkable lives and the many, many stories of their time in Antarctica.

The exhibition opens on the 18th of May, 2019 and runs through until October. So there’s plenty of time to book in a visit to this incredible show.