The Royal Geographical Society was a particular treat for me because it related to my paper topic, the collections relating to Shackleton and Scott's expeditions to the Antarctic. The RGS was formed in the 19th century in order to promote exploration and geographical mapping. The current president is Michael Palin, one of the monty pythons he has done many travel documentaries including one in which he traveled around the world in eighty days.
Some highlights of the tour include seeing the lecture room, the 'map' room which used to be used to look at maps but the new reading room fulfills this task. We were able to look at some very interesting artifacts, such as George Mallory's boot which was found on Mt. Everest. We saw one of Shackleton's balaclavas that he wore on one of his expeditions and some provision pouches from Scott's expedition. This tour will certainly add to my research.
I'd like to take the time here to go into my research project a little as it relates to our trip to the Royal Geographical Society. I am looking at the material available in regard to the British expeditions to the Antarctic, specifically those conducted by Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton. As a history major and general history buff I have always been interested in the tales of the great age of exploration. This was a time when people decided to go and walk across a giant continent of ice just because nobody else had done it before. Scott was not successful in his attempt to be the first to the South Pole and died on his return. Shackleton had his ship sink on the way to his crossing of the Antarctic but was successful of getting his party back to safety (some of those who had planted provisions along the second leg of the journey across the Antarctic sadly perished).
My project will look at what materials are available in both secondary and primary source material and how this material is organized. I also want to look at what is available to the public at a lending library such as the Barbican, to see what is initially available to students. In addition I would like to compare the differences between British and American sources when pertaining to these subjects.