The fate of the Australasian Antarctica Expedition — still stranded in pack ice off the coast of Antarctica — got me thinking about the value of reenacting expeditions. I wrote an opinion piece on the subject for National Geographic. Getting trapped in pack ice isn’t always a bad idea. In 1895, Fridjof Nansen intentionally sailed his ship Fram into the polar pack ice in hopes of reaching the North Pole. While he fell short, he achieved a new “Farthest North.” I will be speaking about this subject on an episode of Mysteries at the Museum, airing on 2 January at 9pm (EST).
I have two longer pieces just out in edited collections: one reassessing the life of notorious North Pole explorer Frederick Cook in North by Degree: New Perspectives on Arctic Exploration, and another reflecting on the long relationship between “Science and Exploration” in Reinterpreting Exploration: The West in the World.
Last year, I helped the curators at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport CT identify an old sleeping bag in their collection — one that is connected to the rescue of Greely and six of his men in 1884. I’ll be giving a public talk about the subject “The Greely Expedition: A Tale of Triumph and Tragedy in the Arctic.” at the Barnum on 23 February at 2pm.