Go Big or Go Home – Laura Kissel.
Polar Curator Laura Kissel and the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program certainly go big. The archive includes innumerable papers, records, photographs and historical artifacts concerning explorers, scientists and other figures and organizations prominent in the advancement of knowledge about polar environments.
Admiral Richard E. Byrd pioneered the technology that would be the base for modern polar exploration. According to Ohio State, “No other person in Antarctic history has contributed more to the geographic discovery of the continent than Byrd.” He received the medal of honor for reaching the North Pole and discovered hundreds of thousands of square miles of Antarctic territory for the United States.
Beyond papers and records, the Polar Archive has an amazing collection of artifacts. Board games inspired by Byrd’s exploration, vintage expedition clothing, art, stamps, sample tents and more enrich the collection. Artifacts from the early 20th century to modern equipment used to survey polar landscapes are collected and preserved for the ages. Other materials like fragile photographs have been made available online through OSU’s Knowledge Bank. While artifacts and other materials can’t be checked out, the general public can view and study them by making an appointment with Polar Curator Laura Kissel.
Laura Kissel has been with OSU’s Byrd Polar Archive for nearly 20 years. She helps increase access and awareness to the collection, and she collaborates with OSU’s Byrd Polar Research and Climate Center, libraries and marketing. Laura fields research questions from across the globe, guest lectures in OSU classes and can drive a mean forklift. Additionally, she is a successful grant writer and cultivates outside donors to ensure a diverse collection of polar materials.
The Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program is an amazing resource that we highly recommend you explore.