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Published 06 February 2019

The fascinating story of an explorer’s adventure and survival across the Antarctic will be told through a series of images on display at Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery.

‘Antarctic Witness’ is an incredible photographic record of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew’s heroic exploration of the Antarctic, from 1914-17. 

The exhibition, on loan from the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), is one of the greatest ever photographic records of human survival. 

Open now and running until Saturday, 1 June 2019, the exhibition tells the story of Shackleton's great attempt to cross Antarctica  in 1914.

Images taken by expedition photographer Frank Hurley were selected and saved from the sinking Endurance by Hurley and Shackleton – and have been preserved from the original, fragile glass plate negatives by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

The vessel was completely trapped in ice in early 1915 and sank ten months later with all crew forced to move onto the floating ice. Shackleton then began an extraordinary 800-mile voyage in little more than a rowing boat to a whaling station before returning to save his crew.

The photographic plates vividly capture the spirit of endurance, trust, courage and judgement shared by Shackleton and his team.  Their adventure and the ultimate survival of all the men remains unsurpassed in Antarctic history.

Bailie Denis Agnew, Convener of Cultural Services, said: “The story of Shackleton and his crew is regarded as one of the most heroic feats of navigation.  These photographs bring to life the sheer determination and fight for survival which has been beautifully captured through the lens of expedition photographer Frank Hurley.  The exhibition also highlights the extreme challenges faced by the men and the story of their will to survive in the most unimaginable conditions. I would like to thank the Royal Geographical Society for bringing this exhibition to West Dunbartonshire and I would encourage the public to come along and see the determination, struggle, survival and rescue of the great explorer and his crew.“ 

Alasdair MacLeod, Head of Enterprise and Resources from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said: "We are delighted to be working with Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery and that they are giving us the opportunity to share this extraordinary story through our Collections with the widest audience possible.”