The Polarship Fram

September 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Expeditions | Leave a comment
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I have spent some days at Oslo, Norway. One of the most interesting things I did was the visit of the Fram Museet or Fram Polarship Museum. I had already read about the North Pole explorers, but having chance to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands the Fram – the name means “Forward” in English – they sailed to the very far North was wonderful. This is why I will start a series of posts gathering information about those explorers and their expeditions. It may sound a bit out of place or exaggerated but they really inspire me! The Wikipedia is always a good starting point:

Fram (“Forward”) is a ship that was used in expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions by the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, Oscar Wisting, and Roald Amundsen between 1893 and 1912. Fram was probably the strongest wooden ship ever built. It was designed by the Norwegian shipwright Colin Archer for Fridtjof Nansen’s 1893 Arctic expedition in which Fram was supposed to freeze into the Arctic ice sheet and float with it over the North Pole.

Fram is said to be the wooden ship to have sailed farthest north and farthest south. Fram is currently preserved in whole at the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Nansen’s ambition was to explore the Arctic farther north than anyone else. To do that, he would have to deal with a problem that many sailing in the polar ocean had encountered before him: the freezing ice would press and crush a ship. Nansen’s idea was to build a ship that could survive the pressure, not by pure strength, but because it would be in a shape designed to let the ice push the ship up, so it would “float” on top of the ice.

Nansen commissioned the shipwright Colin Archer from Larvik to construct a vessel with these characteristics. Fram was built with an outer layer of greenheart wood to withstand the ice and almost without a keel to handle the shallow waters Nansen expected to encounter. The rudder and propeller were designed to be retracted into the ship. The ship was also carefully insulated to allow the crew to live onboard for up to five years.

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Virtual exhibition “The Saami, becoming a nation”

July 27, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Education, Scandinavia | Leave a comment
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Some months ago, some friends sent me the link to a virtual exhibition about the Saami people organized by Norway. It is a very good idea, because with a virtual exhibition people of all over the world can learn a bit more about the Saami people, their land and their culture:



“Should the Sami ever experience having books written in their own language, having literature and art based on their national heritage, and cultural institutions that nurtured their folk art, fairy tales and language, it would be the beginning of a process – cultural, social, and economic – the extent of which cannot be perceived today”.

Per Fokstad, 1951

[…] Our presentation is not intended as a typical ’exhibition’ of physical objects. Rather, it is an attempt to present a process of social and cultural development now underway. We aim to show how individual Sami have – through their ideas, debates, and actions – created the forums and measures which have come over time to shape the form and content of Sapmi. We are particularly interested in where this ethnic awakening is directed culturally and ideologically in the new century. The Sami context is no longer limited to a local community; today, international connections and a world arena is no less important for the Sami future.

Thus, our presentation is not only meant as a corrective to the conventional philosophy and practice of museums, but also to provide the public with means to grasp the implications of the emergence of Sami nationhood as a creative, innovative and cumulative process – a virtual revolution in political and cultural terms within the span of some decades. Moreover, we want to make the audience aware that museum displays- like the old and the new exhibit here in Tromsø Museum – are not just ”facts”, but presentations reflecting the interests, motives and historical contexts of those who made them.

It is an interesting idea, isn’t it? Go and take a look if you feel curious!

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