Scott’s last expedition – now open

Everyone here at the museum is extremely excited about our new winter exhibition Scott’s last expedition. This amazing exhibition takes over 600 square metres of our galleries and is filled to the brim with photographs, artefacts and specimens that document Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s famous expedition to the South Pole, where tragically he and four of his men lost their lives almost 100 years ago.

Scotts last expedition preview
Image: Peter Dexter, Chairman, ANMM at the opening of Scott’s Last Expedition.

This unique exhibition goes beyond the fatal tale of the expedition to celebrate the achievements and scientific discoveries made by the expedition team.  Among some of the impressive objects on display you will find specimens such as sea sponge (Haliciona (Gellius) rudis) collected during the expedition, still green over 100 years on; and Brittle Star (Astrotoma agassizii), a star fish that sports long flexible arms to capture prey, a species found throughout Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula.

At the centre of the exhibition is a representation of Scott’s base camp at Cape Evans. Visitors can walk inside the life-size hut and get a sense of the everyday realities for the 25 expedition members, from the cramped conditions and homeliness of the hut, to the wealth of specimens collected and experiments conducted.

This comprehensive exhibition follows the journey of Scott and his men from start to finish, and displays original artefacts, equipment, clothes and personal effects for the first time in Australia.

Scotts last expedition (detail)
Image: Inside the representation of Cape Evans Hut (detail).
Scotts last expedition (detail)
Image: Inside the representation of Cape Evans Hut (detail).

To commemorate the centenary of the expedition and celebrate its achievements the Natural History Museum, London, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand and the Antarctic Heritage Trust, New Zealand, have collaborated to create this international travelling exhibition. Australian National Maritime Museum is the premier venue for the exhibition.

Join Lindsey Shaw, ANMM senior curator, for a talk about this outstanding exhibition on Friday 12 August. For booking information, visit our website.

Win a trip of a lifetime to the Antarctic with Orion Expeditions! You can enter the competition on our website or at the museum.

Exhibition now open until 16 October 2011.

Join the conversation on Twitter, use #Scott2011

Learn more about the exhibition at

3 thoughts on “Scott’s last expedition – now open

  1. Pingback: Scott 100 Plymouth | Plymouth Buzz

  2. I have just returned to Australia after visiting Scott’s Last Expedition, exhibited at Christchurch. It was wonderful to see such a good presentation and I left a comment in the visitor’s book that it brought the event to life. Armed with my souvenir enamel plate and bowl plus the excellent book to add to my collection I was left thinking that Christchurch missed the boat a little bit. Stoker William Burton was the last surviving member of Scott’s brave team and I interviewed him for Radio New Zealand not long before he died. I called the half hour documentary, “Scott’s Last Man,” What is fascinating is that Bill was from the lower decks. Bill is long gone now but he was full of praise for Scott. As the exhibition is held in his hometown Christchurch, a little section on Bill would be fitting, considering his picture is there but he’s not identified. He looked so young then, merely a boy. It was even these small players, who together formed the valiant team that made the event a success. While we always view it as a disaster, the scientific data returned proved invaluable and changed our scientific ideas; certainly Dr. Wilson dragged back proof of Continental Drift. But the data on weather, fish life, water temperatures, and marine specimens never before seen, was immense. What did Amundsen bring back? Some photographs and bravado but nothing else, not even his dogs. No, Scott is my champion, he deserves a better place in history and Bill Burton is also deserving, it was the symphony of talent that made the expedition a success, in spite of Scott and his team failing to return. Scott’s scientific purpose is what excuses him, this man was a pioneer of science and research as well as Antarctic discovery. Every effort must be made to ensure his statue is restored after the earthquake damage and put back where it belongs, to remind us of one of New Zealand’s and Britain’s most outstanding legends in the field of discovery.

    • Thank you for your comment Robert. It’s fantastic that you were able to visit the exhibition in New Zealand and how wonderful to have had the opportunity to interview William Burton. We’ll be sure to pass your comment onto our colleagues in New Zealand.

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