More or less around the corner from the school, the Scott Polar Research Institute will be celebrating Antarctic Day on Saturday 30th November.
Antarctic Day celebrates the signing of the Antarctic Treaty on 1st December 1959, in which signatory nations (now numbering 48) undertook to preserve the Antarctic region (defined for the purposes of the treaty as all land south of 60° S) as a natural reserve. The treaty has five broad terms:
- Countries that sign up to the Treaty are free to carry out scientific research in Antarctica and must share their results.
- No military activities are allowed in Antarctica – the continent must be used for peaceful purposes only.
- The Treaty promotes Antarctica as a place to undertake important scientific research.
- All testing of nuclear weapons and the dumping of radioactive waste is forbidden in Antarctica.
- Claims to slices of Antarctica by individual countries are set aside so long as the Treaty exists.
Here is a short film celebrating the inauguration of Antarctica Day in 2009.
The Scott Polar Research Institute has a small but nationally important museum dedicated for the most part to polar exploration, with particular emphasis on the expeditions of Shackleton and Scott to Antarctica. Last year marked the centenary of Scott’s death on his return from the Pole, having been beaten to it by a matter of days by the Norwegian team of Roald Amundsen. The museum was extensively refurbished in the run-up to the centenary, and the collections rehoused.
The museum is on Lensfield Road, and is open from 10-4, Tuesday to Saturday. Entrance is free.