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This summer, you'll start hearing a lot more from us on the subject of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's groundbreaking Terra Nova expedition to Antartica in 1910-1913.

 

Scott's Last Expedition is our big exhibition opening in January 2012 and we're very excited about this it. The exhibition will show original items that Scott and the rest of the team brought to Antarctica and scientific specimens they collected. The exhibition comes to us from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia, where it opens this June.
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Adventurer Ben Fogle in Scott's Hut as it is today, appearing in the BBC Two documentary on Sunday, 17 April, 8.00 pm

But ahead of this, all Scott fans should catch a fascinating documentary this weekend, The Secrets of Scott's Hut on BBC Two. The programme airs at 8.00 on Sunday, 17 April, and follows adventurer and broadcaster Ben Fogle on his intrepid journey across frozen wastes with an international team of conservationists to preserve Scott's hut on the remote Cape Evans in Antarctica.

 

For the documentary, Ben Fogle was given exclusive access to Scott’s hut. He spent a few weeks in the hut with the other conservationists, working and living as Scott did under extreme conditions. Part of their mission was to restore Scott’s weather beaten hut and its artefacts, without disturbing the past.

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Captain Scott (centre) and group of expedition members on return of the Southern Party, 13 April 1911. Image courtesy: H Ponting photograph, Pennell collection, Canterbury Museum NZ, 1975.289.28

'Captain Robert Falcon Scott has been a hero of mine since before I can remember,” says Ben Fogle. 'So many books have been written about his race to  the South Pole in 1911, but a century on all this new information is coming to light. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to see a part of Scott’s world that’s been lost for 100 years and to learn more about the man I’ve idolised for most of my life.'
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Outside the Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans as it is today. It was erected by Scott and his British Antarctic Expedition team in 1911. © New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust

In our forthcoming exhibition, visitors will be able to explore the many captivating stories of the Terra Nova expedition, Scott’s last, to Antarctica, including the enthralling journey to the South Pole. But the exhibition also goes beyond this famous tale and explores other aspects of the expedition. Visitors will get close to many of the rare original artefacts that Scott and his team used.

 

Our exhibition commemorates the centenary of the expedition and celebrates its achievements.

 

Scott's Last Expedition is a touring exhibition opening in Sydney in 2011 and arriving in the UK in January 2012. It goes on to New Zealand in November 2012 after closing here at the Natural History Museum in London. Scott's Last Expedition is a partnership between the Natural History Museum, London; Antarctic Heritage Trust (New Zealand); and Canterbury Museum, New Zealand.


Find out about the Scott's Last Expedition exhibition

 

Learn more about the history of the huts, and Antarctic heritage and conservation

 

Follow the Antarctic conservation blog

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It's always a pleasure to announce the opening of the butterfly house outside on the East lawn. And I am so glad the sun shone today when the Sensational Butterflies exhbitiion was unveiled officially to the public. I know the butterflies inside the butterfly house love it so when it does.

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Sensational Butterflies opened today, 12 April, on the Museum's front lawn

New features in this year's exhibition like the butterfly puddle (below), cocoon handling and a crawl-through chrysalis, are just some of the things to delight children and adults alike.

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Left: The hatchery in the butterfly house, where butterfly life begins. Right: Butterfly puddle, where male butterflies sip

But really it's about the butterflies themselves. Watching the different tropical species flutter around so gracefully in all their glorious colours, shapes and sizes, while you marvel at how they sense the world. Trying to identify species as you spot them - there are handy identification charts around to refer to.

 

Remember to get your butterfly stamper card stamped as you go through each of the five sensory zones. You can pick one up at the ticket desk entrance. Outside in the garden, things are beginning to grow and you can find gardener's tips for attracting butterflies.

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There are over 10 different species of swallowtail butterfly (left) in the house this year and as in previous years, blue morphos (right) are in great abundance.

 

Have a look at the exhibition highlights slideshow to see some of the reasons why you should visit our butterfly exhibition this year.

 

Enjoy the Sensational Butterflies highlights in the slideshow

 

Sensational Butterflies is open all through the summer and I'll be updating you with news along the way.

 

When you leave the butterfly house, check out the butterfly gift shop. If you go with children, of course they won't let you leave until at least one pair of deely boppers is on someone's head.

 

Tickets for the exhibition are £3.50 each and children aged three and under get in free.

 

You can book tickets online or buy them at the butterfly house ticket booth.

 

Another nice thing about today's exhibition opening is the news that a new butterfly species from Peru, the zebra-like ringlet butterfly, has been uncovered in the Museum's collections by Blanca Huertas, our butterfly curator. Splendeuptychia mercedes differs from its closest relatives by having broad stripes on its wings, resembling that of a zebra’s.

 

'Despite it not being the first time that I have identified a new butterfly species, it is still exciting,’ says Blanca. ‘Almost half of the world’s butterfly species are found in South America, and it is amazing we are still finding new ones there.’

 

Read the news story to find out about the new zebra-like ringlet butterfly discovery