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Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey Exhibition
Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey has completed its four-year tour, opening at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and then traveling to an additional 15 venues. After closing, the exhibition was acquired by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno as part of their Altered Landscape collection. The photographs will be exhibited November 27, 2010–April 3, 2011 in the museum's Hawkins Contemporary Gallery.
Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey published by Smithsonian Books.

Exhibit Poster 36” x 17” (Select the link to order a copy of the poster or the book)

Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey features photographs by Joan Myers.The exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and made possible through the generous support of Quark Expeditions.


Smithsonian Exhibit of Antarctica Photography
to Premiere in Washington, D.C.

“I have seen part of the planet that few have seen, and I have had the time to walk and photograph and feel our world without its veneer of human activity. Antarctica cannot be tamed.” That is the last journal entry Joan Myers wrote, summing up four months of photographing scientific study and the daily life on the world’s “most hostile continent.” The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), through Joan Myer’s breathtaking photographs, offers a glimpse of the majestic continent of Antarctica that has captured the imagination of explorers, scientists and armchair travelers alike.
The traveling exhibition “Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey” will premiere at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on May 17, 2006 and will remain on view through July 23. The exhibition will then embark on a 15-venue national tour lasting through the spring of 2010. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Quark Expeditions.
Award-winning photographer Joan Myers, recipient of an Antarctic Artists and Writers Program grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, spent October 2002 through January 2003 photographing scientific study and the daily life at McMurdo Station. She also explored the interior of the continent by plane, ship, helicopter and snowmobile. While away from McMurdo base, she spent some time photographing on a Coast Guard icebreaker, at the South Pole, at field stations in the Dry Valleys and from the top of Mt. Erebus, an active volcano, to name a few. Throughout her journey, she photographed in below freezing temperatures with wind chills as low as -60° F.
“Wondrous Cold” features 50 stunning color and black-and-white photographs. Large panoramas of Antarctica’s austere beauty and inhuman scale are juxtaposed with wildlife, people and the abandoned huts of early explorers Scott and Shackleton. Panels explore the scientists who conduct research in climatology, glaciology, biology and astronomy at McMurdo Station and the support staff who keep the station functioning. The exhibition also includes historical, scientific and political background and a description of life at the station.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest, driest and most remote continent on the Earth. No permanent human settlement has ever been established on Antarctica, but dozens of countries maintain research stations there to study its geological past, its spectacular glaciers and abundant coastal wildlife, and our global environment and the cosmos.
McMurdo Station is the largest of three permanent American scientific research stations built in the 1950s. There are approximately 1,500 summer residents at McMurdo and they work long hours often in extreme cold. Only a few hundred remain at the station through the austral winter, February to October, maintaining the station and its machinery. Though technology has improved those few who remain through the winter must be prepared for the same physical isolation experienced by Scott and Shackleton before them.
A full-color companion book complements the national traveling exhibition. “Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey” will be published by Smithsonian books and will be available in stores in May 2006. For more information.
Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has taken travelers to the polar regions, pioneering the use of powerful Russian icebreakers and ice-strengthened vessels for adventure travel. For further information, visit
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

Media only: Jennifer Schommer (202) 633-3121,
Public only: (202) 633-1000