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South Georgia Museum

November 19, 2017

Top Thing to do in Grytviken

South Georgia Museum

When you go to Grytviken, there aren’t too many points of interest, so the museum is right up there. Considering its location and its resources, the museum does well covering a wide range of topics. Since most people probably go there in homage to Ernest Shackleton, of great interest is the authentic depiction of the boat that brought he and his men to South Georgia. Experiencing the boat in person brings the difficulty of their journey to life and increased awe for the success of their feat. There are reproductions of the gear worn by the early explorers, their navigation and other supplies and gear. There is a preserved albatross that you can stand next to in order to appreciate their massive wingspan. There are exhibits that explain the hunting and the processing of the whales for their blubber and the hard life that those men led. It is a visit that will make you appreciate walking back out into the sunshine, seeing a fur seal or a penguin waddling around freely, and the wild beauty of the land. You will also be a bit more grateful as you step aboard your cruise ship and head down to dinner and a drink, followed by a warm comfortable bed. This is the only Whaling Museum open to visitors in south Georgia. The Museum is basically in 2 parts; the actual Museum Buildings and the old whaling station. Inside the Museum proper there is a good history of the site. If you're going on an expedition cruise to Antarctica (how else would you be visiting South Georgia?) then you will have no lack of unbelievable scenery, millions of penguins, seals, whales and seabirds.

Grytviken--like Port Lockroy and Deception Island--provides something else, a view of the human impact on the Antarctic and South Atlantic.

The museum here is excellent. While Bamfield House at Port Lockroy provides you with a feeling for how Antarctic explorers lived during the mid-20th century, the museum at Grytviken has a much broader range of exhibits, covering not only the whaling station that was erected here, but also Shackleton's extraordinary feat of seamanship and survival.
After a few days of unspoiled nature, the size of Grytviken impresses on the visitor just how extensive the whaling operations were when they were based here, and the impact of human occupation on these extraordinary places.

What Guests Say about it is as follows 

The pinnacle of a visit to South Georgia

The museum is a 'must see' for anyone stopping in Grytviken, South Georgia, because it's probably the most interesting attraction there. We visited on our recent Quark Antarctic expedition. The museum contains fascinating artefacts from the whaling and sealing days early in the 1900s, plus memories of the exploration era last century, and the maritime and natural history of the area. There is also a souvenir shop in the museum and local stamps & coins are available in the nearby Post Office. Apart from these, there's the Norwegian church plus the cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried to explore. Otherwise, there are a few penguins and seals lolling around.

Made this your first stop.

This place has a wealth of information, there is also a gift shop. Would have made this my first stop instead of walking around the machinery and looking at wildlife. Just amazing the amount of exhibits it has and the literature about the place in this small museum

Wealth of information in a tiny space

We visited Grytviken and our recent Antarctic cruise and we loved the museum! I wish we had enough time to see and read everything as this museum has so much to offer. The room with the history of the whaling and sealing era was the most heart breaking and those image are going to stay with me for a long time. It was nice to be able to touch and feel the king penguin's feathers, elephant seal's moulted fur, fur seal's fur, etc. I read the wonderful South Georgia book by Tim and Pauline Carr on the ship and it was great to visit the museum that they were curators of. We also visited the replica of Shackleton's James Caird boat and never cease to wonder how he did what he did!

Excellent little museum that deserves some time to see

If you've invested the considerable time to get to South Georgia, then do invest a little more in seeing this wonderful small museum which helps to bring the extraordinary story of the island to life. Grytviken and King Edward Point may spread over no more than one kilometre and be inhabited by no more than 30 people, but this one and only inhabited spot deserves the best part of a full day to visit Shackleton's grave, wander among the ruins of the whaling station and beached rotting ships, contemplate the church, enjoy this great museum, and purchase a few souvenirs in the shop and post office. And do spend some money: you'll be helping to preserve South Georgia for future visitors.

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