South Georgia museum expects 15,000 visitors this season | Polarjournal
The team of five women who run the museum at the former Grytviken whaling station on South Georgia during the current Antarctic season were looking forward to the many visitors at the start of the season. Photo: South Georgia Heritage Trust

After the last two Antarctic seasons fell through due to the pandemic – apart from a short-lived attempt a year ago – this year’s season is in full swing. Numerous ships are already en route between South America, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. The team at the South Georgia Museum in Grytviken has also been preparing for this. The five women expect 113 ships with a total of about 15,000 passengers this southern summer.

For the first time, the museum in the former whaling station Grytviken has fully reopened after the 2019/2020 season, when it had to close earlier. In the summer of 2020/2021 it remained completely closed and last season a small team temporarily opened its doors for the few visitors.

This summer, South American ports are expecting record numbers of expedition and cruise ships to take their passengers to Antarctica. The British museum team is prepared: They have received registrations from 113 ships, which will bring around 15,000 passers-by to Grytviken – more than ever before.

BBC Scotland even ran a short feature on this year’s museum team. Video: South Georgia Heritage Trust

“We’re expecting thousands of visitors,” says museum assistant Helen Balfour, whose great-grandfather and grandfathers worked as whalers on South Georgia. “I think it’s going to be lovely.”

The crow’s nest from Shackleton’s last expedition ship, Quest, is on display in the “Shackleton’s Last Quest” exhibit at the South Georgia Museum. Photos: South Georgia Heritage Trust

Immediately after the five women arrived in Grytviken, they unpacked a very special object: The crow’s nest from Shackleton’s ship “Quest,” which is returning to South Georgia for the first time since 1922 and is now part of the “Shackleton’s Last Quest” exhibition. Along with the cabin where Shackleton died, it is one of the two parts of Shackleton’s last expedition ship, Quest, that still exist after the ship sank in 1962. The Crow’s Nest is on loan from the Crypt Museum, All Hallows by the Tower, London.

Julia Hager, PolarJournal

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