16 September 2011
Last updated at 13:41
The life and work of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is being celebrated for the first time at a British museum. The exhibition is at the Polar Museum in Cambridge. Amundsen is most famous in the UK for beating Captain Scott's party to become the first to reach the South Pole in 1911, as shown in this photograph.
Many objects connected to Amundsen and not previously seen outside Norway have been lent by The Fram Museum in Oslo to the Polar Museum, which is part of Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI). They include this sledge compass, which was dated at the South Pole on 14 December 1911.
Roald Amundsen had an extraordinary life. He was inspired by the 19th century Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin to a take up a career in polar exploration. He led the first expedition to sail through the Northwest Passage, completed the first journey around the Arctic Ocean and also crossed the Arctic Ocean by airship.
This framed ship's biscuit is one of the more quirky artefacts on display at the Polar Museum. It was taken to the South Pole. Amundsen initially planned to tackle the North Pole, but was thwarted when the news came that the American explorer Robert Peary's party had beaten him to it in 1909.
So he secretly changed his plans and decided to try to reach the South Pole instead. The exhibition at the Polar Museum shows the lengthy preparations for his explorations, which included spending years of learning with the Canadian Inuit. This sledging flag belonged to his team-mate Oscar Wisting.
Amundsen and his party set off with two years' worth of provisions and around 100 sledge dogs. They initially set up fuel and food dumps, and then faced a long Antarctic winter preparing for the expedition. The dogs proved crucial to Amundsen's success. These are his snow shoes.
Pocket watch used by Amundsen. Olav Olavson Bjaaland, Hilmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel and Oscar Wisting made the attempt with Amundsen. On arrival at the South Pole they left a letter for Scott's party, explaining their success. It was found with Captain Scott's body and is part of the Polar Museum's collection.
This knife is another Amundsen artefact never before seen in the UK. Roald Amundsen continued to explore the polar regions for the rest of his life. In 1928 he set out to attempt the rescue of the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile. Nobile was later rescued but Amundsen was never seen again. The exhibition ends on 19 November.