Skip navigation
In memoriam. Captain Robert Falcon Scott, 6 June 1868 to 29 March 1912.


Portrait of Scott by expedition photographer Herbert Ponting, and Memorial cross image below, courtesy of Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Select images to enlarge them.


Today marks the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's last diary entry on 29 March 1912. It is thought to be the day Scott died.


Scott's last words from his famous diary read: 'We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think that I can write any more.'


Inside our Scott exhibition, the final exhibits showing the iconic cairn cross adorned with Scott's last messages home, next to the belongings found in the tent where his frozen body and those of Henry Bowers and Edward Wilson were discovered, are among the most haunting in the gallery.


Scott is assumed to be the last to perish of the five-strong Polar party. It's likely he died on 29 March 1912 in the tent where he, Bowers and Wilson sheltered from the unrelenting blizzards, their food provisions gone. A depot containing enough supplies to get them back to base camp was just 11 miles away. The legendary cairn cross photo (above) was taken by the search party who found the tent and the frozen bodies 8 months later on 12 November 1912.  In tribute they made a great cairn of ice over the tent and bodies and fashioned a cross from skis. A sledge was thrust into a smaller cairn nearby.


Next to the huge cairn cross display in the exhibition, you'll see some of the belongings retrieved from the tent where Scott, Bowers and Wilson were found. A theodolite, Wilson's sledging diary, the green satchell in which Scott kept his diary, and Scott's own silk embroidered British flag inscribed with the words 'Ready, Aye, Ready' are among them. Near these exhibits, there's the chance to turn the pages and read extracts from Scott's virtual diary, and listen to them too.



Some months after the search party found Scott, an official Memorial cross was erected at Observation Hill on Ross Island, Antarctica, where it still stands today (left).


The Memorial cross bears the names of the five men who were lost, Capt R. F. Scott, Dr E. A. Wilson, Capt. L. E. C. Oates, Lt H. H. Bowers, and Petty Officer E. Evans, and words from Tennyson's Ulysses poem:


'To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield'.


Today, members of the Museum's staff attended the moving Scott commemorative ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral where 2,000 people gathered from all over the world.


Outside St Paul's earlier today, a Museum spokesman said: 'It's remarkable to see how Scott's legacy influences us still, 100 years on. It was simply extraordinary to be there.'

Earlier in the week, we welcomed special guests from the British Services Antarctic Expedition team to our Scott exhibition to see rocks and fossils collected by Scott's team which are kept in our collections.


As well as the personal stories and everyday objects that played a part in this epic Polar journey, you'll also discover some of the many scientific specimens including geological samples that were found with the last three perished. Come and visit. Scott's Last Expedition is also open late every last Friday of the month.


Find out more about Scott's Last Expedition exhbition online


Read the news story about the British Services Antarctic Expedition team visiting the Museum and recreating Scott's last birthday meal in the Terra Nova base camp hut


Keep in touch with Antarctic research now - follow the Antarctic Conservation blog


The Museum played a poignant part in a heart-warming story last week when we invited the Greene family in early on Friday morning for an exclusive, early-morning skate through the Central Hall and Dinosaur Way on their Heelys, fulfilling one of their late mum's wishes.


The Greenes' skate through the Museum was filmed and featured on ITV's This Morning show as a follow-up to Mother's Day and an earlier interview with them about their incredible family struggles and mum's moving memoir. You can watch it on the video clip below.




The Greene family's skating adventure here was one of the things on their 'mum's list'...


In 2010, at  the age of 38, Kate Greene discovered that she had terminal breast cancer. Before passing away, she made a list of  things that she had wanted to do and that her husband and their two young sons should do after she'd gone. The wish list of over 100 things has become immortalised in the bestselling book Mum's List, (right) written by her husband, Singe.


Two years on from her death, achieving some of the things on their mum's wish list has helped the family to remember and celebrate their beloved Kate. Along with their recent Heelys skate here, they've already snorkelled through the corals of Egypt's Dead Sea, visited Lapland and are still buying orange Club biscuits every time they go down the shops - Kate's favourite!

The Museum was delighted to welcome all the Greene family (dad Singe, sons Finn, left and Reef right pictured above) to skate in the Central Hall and Dinosaur Way last week for the ITV's This Morning film feature and to be part of the Mum's List story. Select images to enlarge them.

Dad Singe says of their visit:


'It was very emotional for us to tick off one of the items on Kate's List on Friday. The museum was so lovely and made us all feel really welcome. Finn preferred going up and down the corridors rather than around the dinosaur as the floor was smoother! To have that opportunity to not only tick something off the list, but in such style at the Natural History Museum in London was completely phenomenal. I can't thank the Natural History Museum and This Morning enough for making that happen. I've been smiling ever since.'


We wish the Greene family the very best of luck in achieving lots more on their mum's list in the future.


How green is your alley?

Posted by Rose Mar 12, 2012

Along the streets and alleyways of our future eco-cities there will be borders of wild flowers buzzing with bees and butterflies. Swifts and bats will fly freely again to and from the eaves of public buildings and tower blocks. Glimpses of solar panels, wind turbines and roof gardens, reflected in self-cleaning windows, will frame the high horizon. It will take under 7minutes to walk to your nearest public transport, recycling centre and local farmer's market. A tree-lined park, river or lake will be just as close.


Does it sound romantic and as far away as the Emerald City seemed to Dorothy when she first set foot in Oz? Such improvements to the sustainability, biodiversity and natural quality of urban life are already part of the greening plans for many cities around the world. And for good reason. It's the first time in history we face a situation where half of the world's population is located in urban spaces rather than rural areas. Planning the future of our cities will make or break a green economy.


Above: Green roofs are starting to pop up all over London. Enough of them could cut down flooding risks, help cool the city, and reduce health hazards in the anticipated hot summers that climate change may bring. And make more space for nature.


In places like Curitiba, capital of Brazil's Parana State, and Sweden, to name a couple, there have been big successes in cutting pollution, fuel consumption and waste through innovative city planning. There are also more ambitious schemes for completely new developments such as Masdar City near Abu Dhabi. Masdar is being hailed as the world's first zero carbon city and a showcase for sustainable living.


And what of Britain's most energy-efficient cities? Are they doing as well as they should? Here in London, there has been much talk of the Green Olympics with sustainability embedded firmly in Olympic planning from the outset. Pictured right is the area around east London's Olympic Park site which is being transformed in line with sustainability guidelines.


The costs and benefits of making our cities and urban housing greener and the promise of the greenest-ever Olympics will no doubt be among the hot topics on the agenda of this week's Earth Debate taking place here at the Museum. Olympics sustainability head, David Stubbs, joins the panel of key speakers to discuss Green cities in a green economy.


Green cities in a green economy - how to pioneer a sustainable transition? is on Wednesday 14 March from 19.00 to 20.00 GMT in the Attenborough  Studio. Like the last two it folllows a Question Time format with an invited studio audience and four panellists.



Watch the Green cities debate live on our website or join us on our online community to have your say before, during and after the event. On the night, you can contribute questions or comments using #earthdebates on Twitter.


This is our third Earth Debate, organised jointly with our Earth Debates partner, the Stakeholder Forum for a sustainable future, in the lead-up to the UN's Earth summit in June, Rio+20.


Find out more about the Earth Debates and watch the previous debates on video

Join in the UK's Climate Week activities


On Sunday 11 March at around 5:50 GMT, the Waterhouse Gallery doors at the Museum will close on the current Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. This year's showcase of winning photos - the 48th one since we set up the competition - has been a huge hit, as ever with this popular show. It was nominated three times during its run as Time Out's Critic's Choice.


Over the last few weeks, the exhibition shop has been busier than ever ringing up sales of the 2011 exhibition Portfolio book, calendars, retro cameras, fridge magnets and, of course, the beautiful prints to remind us of this year's winning photographs. It's no surprise that the print that most people wanted to own was of this little cutie, who lives high up in China's Qinling Mountains (where many of us may never travel to in our lifetimes). The Tiny warm-up photo was the runner-up in the 2011 Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species.


Tiny warm-up by Cyril Ruoso captured the vulnerability of China's endangered golden snub-monkeys. The youngster was one of a band of about 70 monkeys living high up in China's Qinling Mountains, surviving on lichen, leaves, bark and buds. This particular subspecies probably numbers no more than about 4,000. The image was the favourite from this year's exhibition print range.

One of the vital things about this exhibition is that in the latest and best photographs of life, and sometimes death, on our planet, we get closer to creatures and corners of our natural world we wouldn't otherwise know about. And in the stories behind the photos and of the individuals who took them, we learn about important things affecting our environment. The overall 2011 Veolia Enivronnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner, Daniel Beltra, is testament to that with his unforgettable Still life in oil image of rescued pelicans from Louisiana's catastrophic oil slick.


Whizzing through the gallery one last time - I always wish I could linger more - I realise again how brilliant it is to see these pictures close up and how the back-lit installations bring out all the details, colours and contours so intensely. Working on the exhibition's website as I do, these are things that I sometimes miss.


I've got lots of favourites from this year. Here are a couple that will haunt me after my last exhibition visit.


Fading beauty by David Maitland (above) is incredibly deceptive. It looks like a painting, but the stylishly-shot mass of poppies was photographed on David's local car-park embankment in Wiltshire last summer. Sadly, three days after David captured them in full bloom (before most had seeded) someone weed-killered the lot! So there will be no poppies to brighten up his car park this year.


Wings of a gull by Jan van der Greef is startling close up with its ethereal iridescent quality. The herring gull's wonderful wing motion and the shimmering stream of water from its legs were taken by Jan on a boat trip in northern Norway. He went to photograph white-tailed eagles, but instead was mesmerised by the gulls. The 2011 exhibition will be remembered for its abundance of breathtaking bird imagery.

The 2011 exhibition has already started its UK and international tour so there are plenty of chances to catch it outside of London.


Behind the scenes, the judges of this year's 2012 competition are now shoulders-deep in the first round of the selection process for the shortlist of winners. They have the highest amount of entries ever to contend with - so good luck to them.


We'll keep you posted on the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year website of news on the judging and tour updates.


And we're now putting the finishing touches to Wild Planet, a free outdoor exhibition of classic shots from Wildlife Photographer of the Year, opening on the Museum's east lawn on 23 March. Check our website for details of this coming soon.