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Polar Explorers: Race to the End of the Earth

A diorama of a group of penguins standing on the ice illuminated by the blue aurora australis in Antarctica
Race to the End of the Earth brings to life one one of history's greatest stories of discovery, courage, and human endurance: the contest to be the first to reach the South Pole.

Two competing explorers, the Englishman Captain Robert F. Scott and the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, led their teams through harrowing conditions against a ticking clock as they undertook 1,800-mile journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the Pole and back. Each team faced not only Antarctica’s extreme weather conditions, but also the risk of starvation, frostbite, and the hazards of getting lost.

In addition to telling these explorers’ stories, the exhibition delves into the legacy of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1900-1922) by linking the expeditions with past and present research on this unique continent.



Dioramas and artifacts vividly re-create the high points of the race, from how Amundsen and Scott prepared for their polar journeys to the numerous hurdles they faced.

Interactive exhibits and engaging media pieces reveal what scientists are learning today about Antarctica's surprising, sub-ice landscape and how people manage to live year-round in this forbidding yet fascinating place.


Key Questions

  • What is Antarctica?
  • How has Antarctica changed over time?
  • Why explore Antarctica?
  • What do explorers need to survive during polar expeditions?
  • Why is Antarctica important today?



"Big summer blockbuster"
– New York Observer

– The New York Times

"The exhibit takes you on their adventure; it’s an interactive, multimedia experience"
The Washington Post


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Race to the End of the Earth is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, and Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.