World’s first polar museum opened in France; It is the only permanent museum devoted for polar world

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The building of the Espace des Mondes Polaires. Credits: espacedesmondespolaires.org

The white serene beauty of the poles mesmerizes everyone. The polar species are cute enough to feature in wallpapers. But, sooner or later, the future generation may not see them alive.

Museums are one of the best ways to spread knowledge and also create awareness. One such museum is the polar museum in France. It is the only permanent museum devoted to the Arctic and Antarctic in the world.

Espace des Mondes Polaires Paul-Emile Victor, is in the shape of a jutting iceberg with almost 60% of its volume buried underground. Jean-Christophe Victor, an anthropologist founded this along with Stephane Niveau, a naturalist.

The prominent features include, 650 m exhibition hall, organized in two poles. One side displays 42 m long Antarctic and the other displays 20 m An Inuit coastal village, Arctic.

The polar bear and the expedition instruments in the hall.
Credits: AFP

A naturalized white bear stands 3.30 m tall in the showroom with penguins and wolves. The objects used for polar expeditions like kayaks, harpoons etc. including photographs, videos and recorded songs also add beauty to it.

The exploration ends in a space called “Pole Alert” where a video sensitizes the spectators on the preservation of these unique glacial spaces. It also highlights the consequences of the melting of the sea ice. The documentation center also makes the collections accessible to students and researchers.

A temporary exhibition hall, skating rink, conference room, multipurpose hall and restaurant are also present. The building is of glass and metal and the look of sharp glacier adores it. It has 16 geothermal wells and also recovers heat from the refrigeration units for its energy.

Stéphane Niveau (left) with Jean-Christophe Victor (right). File Photo.
Credits: AFP

It is in memory of Paul-Emile Victor, a French ethnologist and also an explorer.  He was awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal by the Royal Geographical Society of London in 1952. Mount Victor, in the Belgica Mountains of Antarctica is also named after him.

Jean-Christophe Victor also followed his father’s footsteps. He was the backbone of this museum. He died on 28 December 2016.

His dream, the museum, is not only a place to visit for fun, but also to understand the dying world in the poles. The museum expects a crowd of 50,000 to 70,000 people per year and also hopes to spread the awareness among the younger generation as well.