NArFU Library Launches Arctic Explorers Exhibition

foto-Taisii-Menshikovoy- 3 NArFU Research Library has opened an exhibition entitled Arctic Explorers.

The initiative is implemented under the international project «Bibliobridge: Arctic Explorers & Towards a New Vision» funded by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. The exposition centers on Norwegian and Russian polar heroes that have set a mark in the history of polar explorations.

The opening ceremony was attended by Andrey Shalyov, Norway’s Honorary Consul and Head of the Barents Secretariat in Arkhangelsk, and gathered representatives of all Norwegian partner libraries who addressed the project team via skype.

«The idea was to find parallels in the personalities of Norwegian and Russian explorers and teach polar history across borders. When we were discussing the possibility of turning the spotlight on female Arctic explorers, our Norwegian colleagues proposed to tell the story of Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen, who studied Svalbard. From our side there is Ksenia Gemp, with her seaweed research and long history of expeditions. We also looked for characters connecting our countries and found Alexander Kuchin and Gennady Olonkin, both natives of what is now Onega District. Alexander Kuchin, who together with Roald Amundsen explored the route to the South Pole aboard the Fram, was also one of the writers of a Russian-Norwegian dictionary. Engineer and meteorologist Gennady Olonkin accompanied Amundsen on board the Maud, received the Norwegian Order of Saint Olav and took Norwegian citizenship,» explained Svetlana Tyukina, Deputy Director at NArFU Research Library.

Several stands are devoted to contemporary Arctic studies. Research conducted by the organizers also revealed similarities between Arctic research vessels: the «Professor Molchanov» hosting the Arctic Floating University expeditions has a Norwegian sister ship — UiT’s «Kronprince Haakon», also used for student research travels.

A similar exhibition is simultaneously held in Bodø, Norway. The initiative is primarily aimed at educating the schoolchildren and academia of Norway and Russia on the shared history of polar research.

«I am really proud of the result of this project — a tangible exhibition developed as part of the Bibliobridge cooperation between Northern Arctic Federal University in Arkhangelsk, the Library at the Norwegian Arctic University in Tromsø, the Public Library and Archives in Tromsø, and Stormen Library in Bodø.

In both countries we know a lot about polar explorers, but we in Norway know little about the Russian ones, and you know little about the more unknown explorers from Norway. Together we have all learned a lot about the traces of Norwegian and Russian polar heroes, and about our joint heroes, as Alexander Kuchin. I really look forward to telling all the exciting and important stories to school children from Tromsø and Bodø,» shared Trud Berg, Director at Stormen Library in Bodø and the project’s coordinator.

The exhibition will provide content for children’s classes at NArFU Library and lectures in the framework of the university’s traditional Days of the Arctic scheduled for the end of February. In addition, the Arctic Fund website now has an English section on Arctic explorers telling the stories of polar heroes and displaying relevant bibliography. The section will be regularly updated with archive materials from Russian and Norwegian libraries.

About the project:

The Russian-Norwegian library project «Bibliobridgе» was kicked off in 2017. The project focuses on the development of cooperation with the Norwegian libraries in Bodø and Tromsø in the field of education, information and library technologies.

During the first project periods the partners visited each other and experienced how the different libraries operate on a daily basis. In the framework of the project «Bibliobridge: Bridging Libraries Across Borders: Towards New Vision and Role in Society» experts shared their experience of developing open access resources and innovative courses aimed at building academic and research skills.

In 2019 the partner libraries embarked on the action project «Bibliobridge — Reading the Arctic» aimed at gathering information about the pioneers of Arctic travel from the Russian and Norwegian side. Under the project «Bibliobridge: Arctic Explorers & Towards a New Vision», the year 2020 has been dedicated to Russian and Norwegian Arctic explorers.

The project’s new line of activity will involve organizing a seminar on the currently extremely relevant topic of information literacy and critical thinking skills development.

Project partners:

  • Stormen Library in Bodø, Norway;
  • NArFU Intellectual Centre — Research Library, Arkhangelsk, Russia;
  • University Library — UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway;
  • Tromsø Public library and City Archives, Norway