Icebergs, Trials, and Cannonballs Make for an Adventurous Life!

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A photo of the iceberg that may have sank the Titanic.

Oftentimes when we ask a guest what ship are they most interested in learning about, their response is, “The Titanic!” It is definitely a mesmerizing and very romanticized story, but there are numerous ship tragedies with equally dramatic stories. A quick Google search turned up more than 25 ships that sank due to collisions with icebergs, and we have images of at least four additional ships in our collection. And those are just the iceberg tragedies!

One tale of a ship hitting an iceberg is particularly thrilling and made international news, which for the late 1700s is really saying something. HMS Guardian left England in September 1789 heading for Port Jackson, today known as Sydney, Australia.   Read more

Iceberg, Milk and Moos

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Parka shirt and pants sewn by the tailor on Admiral Byrd’s second Antarctic expedition. Made from a thick blanket material while enroute on board the BEAR of OAKLAND 1936.23.01

The mysterious continent of Antarctica has fascinated explorers and dreamers for centuries. Through the possibilities of scientific discovery or just the challenges that come with the hardship of survival there, the siren call of the ice has beckoned many. But there were four intrepid explorers who never asked, or even wanted, to go there. From January 1934 to February 1935 they braved the cold, storms and whims of their fellow explorers while doing their part to support the expedition.

In 1928 when Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr. announced his intention to go to Antarctica and explore the continent by airplane, he quickly found financial backing for his quest from wealthy Americans and private citizens. Among his many accomplishments, Byrd was famous as the navigator on a 1926 trip that he and pilot Floyd Bennett claimed was the first airplane flight over the North Pole. This trip to Antarctica would now make him the first American explorer there since Charles Wilkes’ U.S. Exploring Expedition in 1840. The successful 1928-1930 expedition launched a public revival of interest in Antarctica and more interest on Byrd. Along with the scientific research, the team established Little America base on the Ross Ice Shelf and Byrd made the first airplane flight over the South Pole.   Read more