OSU Byrd Polar Archive

Byrd Exhibit

Byrd Polar Exhibit at OSU’s Thompson Library

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.

Archives Storage

Multi-story storage for the Polar Archives, University Archives and Ohio Congressional Archives

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.

Admiral Byrd's South Pole Game Little America

Admiral Byrd’s South Pole Game “Little America”

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.

Polar Curator Laura Kissel

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.

Polar Exhibit with Modern Equipment

Polar Exhibit with Modern Equipment

The Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program is an amazing resource that we highly recommend you explore.

Andrea the Explorer

Andrea the Explorer

Ice Core

Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Tibetan ice core with visible layer of dust from 1825

Little Mo the Penguin

Little Mo, the 1941 Antarctic Chinstrap penguin

Leather flight helmet and hinged goggles

Leather flight helmet and hinged goggles thought to have belonged to one of Byrd’s expedition members

Blanchard Tent Company Draw-tite Miniature Tent

Blanchard Tent Company draw-tite miniature tent sales sample

Byrd Cutlery

1931 cutlery taken on the Nautilus submarine expedition

Intuit with Dog Sled Team

“Intuit with Dog Sled Team” sculpture made from animal bone

Original Byrd Poloar Stamp

Stamp with the original name of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center

Byrd Exibit Journal

Polar expedition journal

Philately Pieces from the Archives

Philately pieces from the archives

Henry Pollack Exhibit Quote

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