Since the so-called Age of Discovery, from early 15th century to early 17th century, scientific explorations gave scientists and natural historians the chance to go beyond the boundaries of knowledge of that time. That made technology, botany, zoology, medicine, geography, geology, hydrology, oceanography, physics, meteorology evolve as well, together with other related sciences. This year marks an anniversary that cannot go unnoticed. The Crozet Archipelago, made of five main islands, and the Kerguelen Archipelago, made of one major territory and more than 300 islets, set in the Southern part of the Indian Ocean were discovered 250 years ago by some French explorers. Two targeted temporary exhibitions are being offered the public until the 26th September 2022 by the Oceanographic Museum and TAAF (French Southern and Antarctic Territories) to stress the importance of such a challenge in terms of understanding of the Natural World. ‘Voyages en terres australes – Crozet et Kerguelen 1772-2002’ and ‘De Dumont d’Urville à DDU: les Français en Antarctique’ (‘Trips to the Southern Territories – Crozet and Kerguelen 1772-2002 and From Dumont d'Urville to DDU: the French in Antarctica’) these the titles of an intertwined unique educational itinerary set in the iconic main conference hall of the Musée Océanographique.
Crozet, Kerguelen, the Land of Adélie, names of exotic lands that always fascinate as if they had been unveiled yesterday, as perfect destinations for scientific missions. About forty display boards spread an intriguing storytelling, including cartographies, archival documents, historical and contemporary photos. Since their revelation, those distant lands unknown have been the theatre of human adventures which have helped to place the emphasis on the naturalistic importance of their ecosystems. Not by chance, the Terres Australes Françaises (French Southern Lands), notably Crozet and Kerguelen, have become a nature reserve and they have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Fauna is emblematic counting on a series of polar species like the macaroni penguins, the royal penguins, the rockhopper penguins, the gentoo penguins, the petrels, the albatross as well as sea lions and the killer whales, plus an interesting local Flora.
The Principality is well present there too. Within the Kerguelen Archipelago the Prince of Monaco Islandwas named after the Monegasque Prince thanks to the efforts of Raymond Rallier du Baty, Monaco’s explorer who was sent the region in 1908. Jules Dumont d’Urville and Jean-Baptiste Charcot are two other emblematic figures on which the exhibit is centered, up to the present scientific projects in the field of meteorology and the environmental pollution and protection. A unique opportunity to learn more about the extreme territories of the Antarctic circle. ***
To know more about the Temporary Exhibitions at the Oceanographic Museum please visit: https://musee.oceano.org/
SAVE THE DATE: 9th September 2.30 p.m. at the Oceanographic Museum: 'Les Kerguelens, 250 and de presence française' (The Kerguelens, 250 years of French presence), conference by Bruno Fuligni, writer and historian.
By Maurice Abbati