This exhibition deals with the first Fram expedition and Fridtjof Nansen’s attempt to conquer the North Pole.
The exhibition focuses on first Fram expedition’s attempt to reach the North Pole between 1893 and 1896. Through letters, pictures and objects, it conveys the story about an expedition that was at the time celebrated as one of the greatest Norwegian heroic deeds ever.
The aim of the expedition was to reach the geographical North Pole and explore unknown areas in the Arctic. The expedition leader and initiator Fridtjof Nansen was accompanied by 11-man crew. By assembling a crew with a broad range of skills, as well as methods and equipment inspired by indigenous knowledge, this was a well-prepared expedition.
The plan was for Fram to freeze in the ice and drift with the currents in the Arctic Ocean, which in theory would transport it to the North Pole. Consequently, Fram was specially designed by boat builder Colin Archer to withstand the pressure from the drift ice. It constituted a simple but relatively comfortable base for the years of the expedition. The crew’s days were characterised by familiar routines and were filled with scientific measurements and experiments.
After a while, Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen realised that Fram would not reach the North Pole owing to currents that minimised the ship’s progress. They chose to leave the ship and attempt to reach the North Pole using skis, sleds and a team of dogs. However, they were eventually forced to give up, and after 15 months the entire crew was safely back in Norway.
Photo: Marius Fiskum. This is an accurate replica of Hjalmar Johansen’s kayak from the first Fram expedition in 1893-1896. It was made by Anders Thygesen and gifted to the museum by Fritz Heisler from Austria.