Regional authorities in Chile have announced plans to build a museum in Antarctica in an effort to bring more tourism and scientific attention to the area. The museum, which would be built in the country’s Arturo Prat Antarctic base, would be designed to highlight Chile’s part in exploring the frozen continent.
The new museum would house some important relics from Chile’s Antarctic history, including a backpack, pickaxe, and snowshoes that were used by the founders of the 280-acre base, which was established back in 1947. Navel vessels from the country also played an important role in rescuing Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance, when their ship was crushed by the pack-ice, stranding them for months in the inhospitable Antarctic climate.
The plans for the project include expanding the current welcome area to the Chilean base, adding some 1076 square-feet to house the historical displays. While that probably doesn’t seem like a very large museum, the expectations of attendance are also quite modest. A spokesperson for the plan says they expect that the museum will attract “more than 500 people per year.”
While Antarctica continues to be a popular tourist destination amongst the adventure travel crowd, it is far from mainstream. When I mention the fact that I want to visit the place, I’m usually met with a strange expression, usually followed with the one-word question: “why?” Now I can simply tell them that I have to visit the museum there. I’m sure they’ll completely understand.