LIS British Studies – Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society visit included hearing about explorers and being able to view some interesting artifacts. The Royal Geographical Society was founded around 1830. There are approximately 2 million items in the society. This breaks down into one million maps, 1/2 million images, 500 boxes of archival material, and 500 artifacts. Members of the Royal Geographical Society can be from all over the world. This helps the society to benefit members in many ways.

The items we saw included maps from the search for the Northwest Passage through north Canada. There were many British explorers who searched for this quicker route through the Americas. Seeing these items helped to put in perspective that these people knew how to survive in exploration and knew what they wanted to find and how to make sure they would persevere.

We were then shown items from explorers’ climbs of Mount Everest, including boots and other supplies. We could not touch these items but just being in near proximity of these items was interesting because not many people get a chance like this. The extremely dangerous conditions of climbing Mount Everest were well known to anyone who dared to climb it. The fact that there are survivors to bring back items is also interesting because things could have always turned out differently.

Then we were told about how explorers competed to find the start of the Nile River in Africa. There were many that thought they were the ones to find the smaller river that feeds into the larger one but each explorer faced obstacles. One explorer thought he found the start of the Nile River but instead found the beginning of the Congo River. These explorers in Africa were able to explore there because the British had colonies there and were able to provide supplies for the explorers and their crews.

photo provided by The Royal Geographical Society –


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