On September 3, 2019, the Antarctic Hall at the Museo Marítimo Nacional (MMN) will be inaugurated in Valparaiso, Chile. DRCLAS is one of the sponsors of this first exhibit entirely dedicated to Antarctica in the country, led by MMN and Fundación Mar de Chile. The Regional Office in Chile has contributed to the Antarctic Museum Project since 2013, through documentation and seminars. Professor James McCarthy, Harvard´s Agassiz Professor of Oceanography, who in 2018 was a co-recipient of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and Dr. David Ellis, President Emeritus of the Museum of Science in Boston, and former President of the Museum Group, have been active participants in the Antarctica-Chile Project throughout the years.
The Regional Office in Chile, represented by its Executive Director Marcela Rentería, and Mónica Krassa, alumni and member of the Harvard Club de Chile have also piloted this initiative since the start. Mónica Krassa has contributed with her experience in Antarctica, including 23 trips to the Chilean Antarctica, as well as to the Arturo Prat Chilean Naval Base, which are well represented in the Hall´s display.
The Antarctic Hall will be inaugurated by the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Almirante Julio Leiva Molina and senior officers, as well as the representatives of the organizations and institutions who supported the creation of the exhibition displayed in the Hall. The DRCLAS Regional Office in Chile´s former Executive Director, Ned Strong, will also be attending the opening.
This Hall will have significant academic and cultural impact in the country, given Chile’s leadership in Antarctic scientific research, its role mapping, searching and rescuing in the Southern Pacific, and its unique history, dating back to the 19th and early 20th century, with symbolic events such as the rescue of Ernest Shackleton’s crew on Elephant Island in 1916. In the future, as part of this effort, Professor McCarthy and Dr. David Ellis aim to establish a satellite museum in Antarctica, annually serving more than 60,000 tourists visiting the Arturo Prat Naval Station, one of the oldest permanent installations in the Southern Polar region.
“An Antarctica experience is something very special—the ice, the penguins, the feel of an almost distant world, the history, especially Chile’s participation since the heroic days of Antarctic exploration. And today, activities at the Arturo Prat Base, both naval and scientific research which will be conveyed by an Internet link, add an important dimension. For those who cannot go to Antarctica and experience these for themselves, the Antarctica Hall is the next best thing.”
Dr. David Ellis