This blog post is part of the Frozen Friday Series, an A-Z journey of the Polar Archives. Each week, we will feature some aspect of the history of polar exploration with a blog post written by our student authors.
Outreach has always been an important part of the efforts of polar explorers. For those individuals that would brave the frozen conditions of the most northern and southern regions of the world, there were two seasons: exploration season and funding season. In the words of famed explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd, campaigning “follows a certain remorseless pattern- an exhausting period of preparation and begging, a heavy field campaign, and on top of that a dreary struggle to pay off accumulated debts, piling up like the layers of a cake.” To Byrd, the effort was worth it, as it was “a thousand times better…to face ruin in New York than accept the dreadful responsibility of starting south lacking a single bit of equipment… necessary for the safety of the men.” This campaign often took the form of lecture tours, designed to present the scientific findings and experiences of Byrd’s exploits. Byrd would ‘vanish’ for months, going on lecture tours around the nation. He would spend half of his nights on a train and the rest of his time attempting to catch-up on correspondence he had received while away. Many of the letters came from children asking questions about the Poles. Byrd devoted much time to responding to these letters.
The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (B.P.C.R.C.) and its Archival Program has continued this tradition of educational outreach. Outreach takes a variety of forms, and includes exhibitions, tours, lectures, presentations of film and other media, classroom visits, and even lesson plans. Of course, this blog is part of this outreach! In 2008, the B.P.C.R.C. Archival Program worked with teachers to create lesson plans for middle school and high school teachers. Cold Cases intends to teach students how to think historically in regards to sources and research methods. Cold Cases utilizes a wide range of sources, including diary entries, letters, photographs, reports, and memoirs, to accomplish this goal. Cold Cases can be found here!
For the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program, the Thompson Library Gallery hosted a large exhibit of materials featuring historical archival materials as well as items that document current and past polar science. Running from October 5, 2015 through January 3, 2016, Mysteries in Ice displayed clothing worn in Antarctica, an ice core from China, rock samples from remote regions, and more. The wider anniversary celebration featured footage from Admiral Byrd’s previously mentioned lecture tours, a panel of experts discussing the 2015 Paris Climate Negotiations, and even a talk given by Terry Tickhill Terrell, a member of the first all-women expedition to Antarctica.
- On March 24, 2017, the Westerville Historical Society will be showing the documentary Byrd 1933, a film created using footage from Byrd’s expeditions.
- The B.P.C.R.C. will have displays and interactives at the Ohio History Connection’s Exploration Weekend, which takes place April 29-30, 2017. There will also be a screening of Byrd 1933.
- The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center is hosting an Argumentative Writing Workshop for Science, Social Studies, and English Language Arts Teachers June 12-15, 2017. The program is designed to train teachers in ways to promote evidence based reasoning in their students across a number of subjects.
- The Polar Archives will mount an exhibition that will tell the story of Byrd’s First and Second Expeditions to Antarctica in Athy, Ireland as a feature of the Shackleton Autumn School. The exhibition will run from late October 2017 through January 2018.
- The Cedar Bog Nature Preserve will also be hosting a screening of Byrd 1933 on November 11, 2017.
Check out one or more of these events and like our Facebook page!
Written by John Hooton.
 Richard E. Byrd, Discovery (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1935), 9.
 Richard E. Byrd, Little America ((New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1930), 9.
 Sheldon Bart, Race to the Top of the World: Richard Byrd and the First Flight to the North Pole (Washington, D.C.: Regnery History, 2013), 419.