The ultimate survival story
See over 100 photographs, diary excerpts, the James Caird lifeboat replica and an interactive sextant. Our exhibition captures the compelling spirit of Shackleton’s crew and their ship, the Endurance. Discover the truth behind the perilous beauty of the White Continent, the sinking of the ship, living on the ice, and treacherous journeys in this feat of survival.
Matty, New Hampshire
“The photos (taken by the expedition photographer) are breathtaking, with good interpretive panels and a few short videos.. This exhibit is not to be missed if you are interested in history. It’s a gem!”
“My girlfriend and I went to check this out one Sunday. I am an avid reader when it comes to Antarctic exploration surrounding the turn of the century/early 20th century and found this exhibition to be incredibly enlightening!”
“Shackleton was a true leader and man. The exhibition and the photos are a must see when in Dublin. The man at the exhibit had such knowledge of him and the expeditions.”
“The quality of the photos is superb and the photos brought home just how brave and tenacious these men were as well as giving a wonderful insight into their expedition.”
“An absolutely fascinating exhibition. Well put together. The black and white photographs convey the awesome power of the ice and the miracle that all men survived the expedition. An exhibit that deserves a permanent base.”
The Endurance exhibition was originally curated by the American Museum of Natural History, New York in 2000. Like Shackleton, the exhibition is well travelled, formerly residing in the U.S.A, Spain, the UK and now Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. The exhibition provides a remarkable insight into the lives of those who lived through the horrors of the expedition, including three Irishmen, Ernest Shackleton from Kildare, Tom Crean from Kerry and Tim McCarthy from Cork.
After seeing rival explorers reach the South Pole before him, Shackleton wanted to go one step further and become the first person to cross the entire continent of Antarctica. His plan involved two ships, the Endurance and the Aurora. The Aurora would lead the way, leaving a trail of food & supplies for the Endurance crew, who would collect it on their trek from the opposite side of the continent.
Whalers in South Georgia warned Shackleton of the pack ice (the frozen layer of water on the surface of the ocean), remarking that it was the worst they had seen in years. During the summer, the ice hadn’t broken up as expected, creating treacherous conditions for the explorers. However, in December 1914, Shackleton set off to Antarctica. The team quickly realised the ice wasn’t breaking up, but they persisted in their efforts to find a base. Disaster struck in early 1915 when distant storms pushed currents that compressed the pack ice together, trapping the Endurance in the ice.
Over the next month, the ship was crushed by the ice and slowly sank into the sea as the team was forced to camp on the ice. Knowing the ice would melt, the 28 men piled into three life boats set on a course for Elephant Island, 100 miles north. Braving the severe weather, they reached Elephant Island. Shackleton realised they would never be rescued from Elephant Island, Shackleton made a momentous decision:
Shackleton and five of the toughest seamen, Worsley, Crean, McNish, McCarthy, and Vincent set sail the in the James Caird lifeboat across 800 miles of treacherous ocean to reach the whaling stations of South Georgia island. Visit our exhibition to find out what happened next and learn the fate of the crew stranded on Elephant Island.
Professor Reginald William James, FRS, physicist, university man and polar explorer, died in Cape Town on 7 July, 1964. James was physicist of Shackleton’s Endurance as part of the Imperial Transcontinental Antarctic…
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