Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In the Grub Box

Top of wooden boxWe fantasize about someday doing an exhibition of chunks of wood in our collections. We have many: a box made from wood from Shakespeare's house: a fragment of a goal post; dozens of carved pieces of the Old Pine; plus lots of other odd bits and pieces. Today we discovered a small wooden box made from the wood of Roald Amundsen's skis that he used on his attempt to navigate the Northeast Passage in 1918-1924. Amundsen was already famous for being the first to pass through the Northwest Passage and as the first person to reach the South Pole.

Bottom of wooden box
Penguin on side of box
The ski was given to members of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition on July 12, 1929, a little more than a year after Amundsen's death. That would be the heart of the Antarctic winter, cold as hell and dark. So, the members of the expedition turned the skis into keepsakes. This segment of the ski was hollowed out and fitted with a sliding panel. Then it was lovingly carved with a "remembrance" of the Chinook dogs on the top, a penguin on one side, a seal on another, and the latitude, "78ยบ 34 S" on a third side. The underside has the details of the object's origin.

Lat 78 34 S
Inside we found a 1928 dollar signed by several members of the Byrd Expedition.

Dollar partially inside of box
To take a look, it is inside of the "grub box" used by Arthur Walden on the Byrd Expedition 1928-30, so ask for "Grub Box," Realia 80.


  1. Wow, very amazing what you have in the collection

  2. It looks like the "remembrance" was for one particular dog, Chinook, whom Walden had lost on the expedition.

  3. Interesting. We thought it had to do with the breed that Walden helped to develop on his farm here in New Hampshire and that Byrd's expedition used. We'll have to do some more research.