Explorers

Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Omai, circa 1776

The Polynesian 'Prince' Who Took 18th-Century England by Storm

A new nonfiction release revisits the life of Mai, the first Pacific Islander to visit Britain

In October 2020, authorities in Mexico City set up metal fences (pictured here) to protect a statue of Christopher Columbus from protesters. Officials later removed the sculpture, ostensibly for restoration.

Monument to Indigenous Women Will Replace Columbus Statue in Mexico City

Named after the Nahuatl word for "water," the sculpture will depict a member of the Mesoamerican Olmec civilization

Map of Nova Scotia made in 1755 by provincial chief surveyor Charles Morris

Unraveling the Colonialist Myths of Nova Scotia

Planners saw the region as a blank space ripe for transformation: the perfect canvas for imperial fantasies

André Michaux, a French botanist, was an ambitious explorer whose legacy has largely been forgotten.

The Forgotten French Scientist Who Courted Thomas Jefferson—and Got Pulled Into Scandal

A decade before Lewis and Clark, André Michaux wanted to explore the American continent. Spying for France gave him that chance

Māori explorers may have reached Antarctica in the seventh century A.D.

Māori May Have Reached Antarctica 1,000 Years Before Europeans

New research draws on oral histories and other traditional records often ignored by Western scholars

New research suggests the intrepid adventurer's persistent health problems stemmed from beriberi, a disease linked to vitamin B-1 deficiency.

What Mysterious Illness Plagued Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton?

The Antarctic adventurer was initially diagnosed with scurvy, but new research suggests he actually suffered from beriberi

This facial reconstruction envisions what HMS Erebus engineer John Gregory may have looked like.

Descendant's DNA Helps Identify Remains of Doomed Franklin Expedition Engineer

New research marks the first time scholars have confirmed the identity of bones associated with the fateful Arctic voyage

An engraving from German zoologist Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen Der Natur, a 1904 book that celebrated the symmetry of nature

From Books Bound in Human Skin to Occult Texts, These Are Literature's Most Macabre, Surprising and Curious Creations

A new tome takes readers into collector Edward Brooke-Hitching's "madman's library"

As historian Nancy Marie Brown points out, “[A]sking not ‘Are the sagas true?’ but ‘Are they plausible?’” is a far better barometer for testing the Viking tales’ veracity.

Did a Viking Woman Named Gudrid Really Travel to North America in 1000 A.D.?

The sagas suggest she settled in Newfoundland and eventually made eight crossings of the North Atlantic Sea

This month's picks include The Agitators, Beloved Beasts, and Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid.

Books of the Month

America's Original Gangster Couple, Trailblazing Women Explorers and Other New Books to Read

These March releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

The bust depicts York, an enslaved member of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition.

Anonymous Artist Installs Bust of York, Enslaved Explorer Who Accompanied Lewis and Clark, in Portland Park

The monument replaces a statue of conservative editor Harvey Scott that was toppled last October

This month's book picks include Icebound, A Shot in the Moonlight and The Eagles of Heart Mountain.

Books of the Month

A Doomed Arctic Expedition, Number-Free Math and Other New Books to Read

These five January releases may have been lost in the news cycle

Researchers identified the black substance as a mixture of burnt rubber, oil and feces.

Black Smudge on Diary Page Reveals 1907 Arctic Expedition's Tragic End

New analysis suggests explorer Jørgen Brønlund spent his final hours trying—and failing—to light a petroleum burner

Cryptids like Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch or the mis-translated "Abominable Snowman" abound in folk tales.

Why Bigfoot and the 'Abominable Snowman' Loom Large in the Human Imagination

In cultures around the world, folklore of a 'Wild Man' share a common narrative

The ʻahu ʻula and mahiole of Kalaniʻōpuʻu on display in the Bishop Museum

Hawaiian Chief's Cloak and Helmet Repatriated After 241 Years

A New Zealand museum initially returned the artifacts, given to Captain James Cook in 1779, on a long-term loan in 2016

Sunrise at the Tongariki site on Easter Island

Native Americans and Polynesians Met Around 1200 A.D.

Genetic analysis of their modern descendants shows that people from the Pacific Islands and South America interacted long before Europeans arrived

The British Library has digitized ten historical globes from its collection.

Virtual Travel

Explore the World Virtually With These Rare, Centuries-Old Globes

Visitors can get up close and personal with augmented reality versions of historic globes recently digitized by the British Library

USS Vincennes in Disappointment Bay, Antarctica, during the Wilkes expedition.

The Forgotten American Explorer Who Discovered Huge Parts of Antarctica

It’s been more than 180 years since Charles Wilkes voyaged to the Antarctic continent and his journey has never been more relevant

This porcelain pot with enamel decorations is one of 100 teapots on display in the Met's updated British Galleries.

A Story of an Empire, Told Through Tea

The Met has revamped its British Galleries, drawing on luxurious artifacts to highlight the country's history of exploitation

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Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit Was Made by a Bra Manufacturer

This wearable spacecraft let humans take one giant leap away from Earth

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