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Freeze Frame Scott Polar Research Institute

News and Events

For information on events and exhibitions at the Scott Polar Research Institute, see The Polar Museum


17 October 2012 – 12 January 2013 – Robert Falcon Scott – a century on

Held in the special exhibition space at the Scott Polar Research Institute this exhibition will  be exploring the impact of Captain Scott’s achievements – Antarctic science and exploration, a century of art and literature and the wider cultural legacy of his expeditions.

A series of events will accompany the exhibition.

See The Polar Museum for more detials and opening times


Captain Scotts expedition ship found

The Terra Nova which sailed to the Antarctic as part of the relief to the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-04 and as the expedition ship for the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13 has been found off Greenland where it sank in 1943. Photographs of the ship appear in the Freeze Frame collections.


The ‘lost’ photographs of Captain Scott

This remarkable collection consists of 109 photographs gives a view of the Antarctic as seen through Captain Scott’s eyes as he documented the first part of his epic journey to the South Pole. Subjects include his companions, the ponies and sledges, the scientific work they were undertaking and the breathtaking Antarctic landscape. Read the full story


20th January – 29th April 2011- British Graham Land Expedition 1934-37

To celebrate 75 years since the major discoveries made during the first ‘modern’ Antarctic expedition, The Polar Museum has developed a major new special exhibition to be held in the Foyer Gallery.

The anniversary exhibition for the BGLE will display many artefacts, images and archives from the Institute’s collections.

The exhibition will be open from the 20th January – 29th April 2011.

The Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm (closed bank holidays) for more information on opening times and events see the Polar Museum visitor information


12 June-14 June 2010 HMS Scott, Cardiff.  Face to Face: Polar Portraits

The collections held by the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, are among the richest in the world for the study of polar environments. Developed from the research begun in 2007 on the Freeze Frame project, this touring exhibition features a selection of 50 portraits alongside some unique polar camera equipment from the museum of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Capturing and preserving this archive of historical images in digital form, the project presents in digital form over 20,000 photographic negatives. It includes some of the very earliest imagery, through to the 1980s, representing some of the most important visual records of British and international polar exploration.

Focusing on portraiture, FACE TO FACE draws attention to some of this recovered historic imagery, whilst looking to the present and into the future. The project engaged the leading expedition photographer Martin Hartley to add to his marvellous portfolio by producing a range of new commissions, featuring men and women of many nations, exploring, working, and living in the polar regions today.

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones (Curator of Art at SPRI 2007-2010) wrote a book to accompany the exhibition available for £50 (special edition)/£40 (hb)/£25 (pb) plus p&p.

Previous exhibition venues:

Stevenage Museum, Stevenage. 30 Mar-5 June 2010.

Discovery Point, Dundee. 7 Mar–24 May 2009.

Explorers Club, New York. 14 Jan-23 Jan 2009.

Athy Heritage Centre, Ireland. 24 Oct-21 Nov 2008.

Scott Polar Research Institute:

8th  June 2010 – The Polar Museum opens

Since April 2009, we have undertaken a comprehensive redevelopment of the Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute, this was possible with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The existing gallery space was increased by 20%, with more objects being displayed. A new temporary exhibition area was also provided, and the original entrance on Lensfield Road was re-opened. The new Museum is on a single level and fully accessible to wheelchair users, with new lifts to both the Museum and Institute entrances.

Our collections are unrivalled and include the last letters of Captain R.F. Scott and his companions, the four expedition diaries of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic photographs of Herbert Ponting (acquired with a previous HLF grant), and extensive records, artwork, and artefacts from the British search for the Northwest Passage. The refurbished Museum has innovative and changing exhibitions that bring audiences closer to the most remote areas of our planet – the Polar Regions – and interpret the way in which exploration, scientific investigation and indigenous knowledge contribute to our current understanding of the relationships between the Arctic and Antarctic and the rest of the world.

The museum was opened on 8 June 2010 by TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex, marking the centenary of Scott’s 1910-13 British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition.

Opening times: from 10am-4pm daily from Tuesday to Saturday. Admission to the Museum is free and all are welcome.
For more information, please visit the website.

On Line Resource:

2009 -Captain Scott’s Journal  – 1910-1913

You can catch up with the daily events of Captain Scott’s British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition 1910-13 via Twitter.

Full diary entries are available on the Last Expedition blog from the SPRI web site

Taken from Captain Scott’s diary they recount the daily events on his final expedition  giving readers a chance to relive the daily events of the Terra Nova Expedition, as recorded by Scott in his famous journal. By republishing the entries as a daily blog, we hope to give the reader new insights into the scale and scope of Scott’s experience.

Dividing the text into daily blog entries – combined with a twitter account and RSS feed – and linking to the famous photographs held in the Scott Polar Research Institute, means that the latest communication technology will add an extra dimension to a well known text: the dimension of time.

The blog will follow the expedition’s progress day by day, over many months, beginning with its departure from New Zealand, and ending with its tragic and heroic conclusion.

It is hoped that the blog will enable readers to gain a deeper appreciation of the challenges faced by the expedition and the sacrifices made by Scott and his men. You can read more about the project

Christopher Hughes, worked with the Institute to develop the blog

On Line Resource:

March 2009 – Sir Ranulph Fiennes personal choice from Freeze Frame

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Between 1979 and 1982, Sir Ranulph Fiennes led the Transglobe expedition, during which he and his partner Charles Burton became the first people to reach both North and South Poles overland. Sir Ranulph has deposited the archive of the Transglobe expedition with the Scott Polar Research Institute and the photographs form an integral part of the Freeze Frame collections. Here he explains his personal choice of favourite images from Transglobe and the other Freeze Frame collections.

“My first reaction on encountering this collection is – how to choose from the wealth of polar images presented by Freeze Frame? This is an extraordinary collection, filled with remarkable images. However, certain things stand out for me, as potent reminders of polar exploration. First, is the scale of these great wildernesses, represented here by the vastness of the Antarctic plateau (P52/13/023) and the grandeur of Ellesmere Island (P2007/16/0189) – both of these images give a sense of how insignificant humans can feel in these environments.

The Antarctic Plateau

Then there are the heroes: Scott and his men at the South Pole, the officers of the Terra Nova, Scott in his den, Gino Watkins on the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, Shackleton during his final voyage on board Quest. These are the men who had an impact on our boyhood imaginations. These pictures represent the exhilaration and the hardship, the quiet moments and the great achievements. Some of them record the precious moments of humour that spur you on.

The great polar artists are here, too. Herbert Ponting, the camera-artist, produced some of the most haunting images of the Antarctic and was able to capture both the immense landscape and the trivia and enforced intimacy of expedition life. A particular favourite is Edward Wilson producing the painting of the paraselena. My own photo of a parhelion is included in homage.

I am delighted that the photographs from our Transglobe Expedition (1979-82) form part of this collection. Reaching the North Pole, our ship Benjamin Bowring and Bothie the dog and the frozen jeans being just a few of the images that we can now share with the world. I congratulate the Scott Polar Research Institute for its vision in bringing Freeze Frame to the widest audience.”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ photographic choices

On Line Resource:

4th March 2009 – The Freeze Frame site launched

The collections held by the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, are among the richest in the world for the study of polar environments. Work began in April 2007 on the Freeze Frame project to capture and preserve our archive of historical images in digital form.

Our photographic negatives are a unique resource but also an extremely fragile one. We have digitised over 20,000 photographic negatives from 1845-1960, representing some of the most important visual resources for research into British and international polar exploration.

Digitisation of related documents – information from personal journals and official reports from expeditions on which these photographs were taken – will provide historical and cultural context for the images. We also intend to add context to the images by displaying them alongside selected items from our pre-eminent collection of polar fine art, prints, drawings, and manuscript materials.

The International Polar Year 2007-08 is the first of its kind for fifty years. The timing of the IPY, coupled with growing interest in climate change, provides a unique opportunity for online resources at the Scott Polar Research Institute to reach a wider learning community than ever before. The forthcoming centenaries of the ‘Heroic Age’ expeditions to discover the Poles also demand of us that this visual archive is accessible to a global audience.

The Freeze Frame project is developing an online database of freely available visual and textual resources to support learning, teaching and research into topics relating to the history of Arctic and Antarctic exploration and science. Through a series of interpretative web pages and e-learning resources the project will provide access to hidden collections for all educational levels. We will encourage users to discover polar environments through the eyes of those explorers and scientists who dared to go into the last great wildernesses on earth.


2008  – Face to Face – Polar Portraites

By Huw Lewis-Jones

Written to accompany the Face to Face touring exhibition, this unique book is the first to examine the history and role of polar exploration photography and showcases the very first polar photographs of 1845 through to images of the present day. Focusing on portraiture, Face to Face draws attention to the collections of historical images held by the Scott Polar Research Institute which have been captured and preserved in digital form by the FREEZE FRAME project. Almost all the historic imagery – daguerreotypes, magic lantern slides, glass plate negatives and images from private albums – have never been before the public eye. The book also looks at the contemporary polar world with a range of new commissions by the leading expedition photographer, Martin Hartley.

The book is available for sale through the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum Shop.

Paperback £25.00 / Hardback £40.00 / Special Edition Hardback £50.00

To enquire about placing an order please use the Contact Page
or Telephone: +44 1223 336548 / Fax +44 1223 336549