Research Blog Antarctica #115: Fram Museum

(Photo: Maria Pettersson)

That’s a photo of me on the deck of the Fram, an exploration vessel used by both Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. It was Amundsen’s ship on his conquest of the South Pole.

We visited the Fram Museum in Oslo last weekend. The museum features the ship itself, and exhibits providing context. For me, the main attraction was the chance to go inside a ship I’d read so much about. It was a surprisingly emotional experience.

The Fram has a strange design for a wooden ship. It’s fat and round, designed to avoid being crushed in ice by rising to the surface. This quality also makes it unpleasant to sail in, as it’s quite unstable.

The interior of the ship was fascinating in its familiarity. Little details like the type of planks used or the hinges on doors were exactly the same as what you’d see in the construction of old wooden buildings all over the Nordic countries. Sometimes it was eerily like the house my grandparents used to live.

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