Modern-day polar explorer Ann Bancroft will be focus of ‘Great Conversation’ at UND Thursday

The University of North Dakota will present a  ”Great Conversation” with famed modern-day polar explorer Ann Bancroft, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. UND Norwegian Programs director Dr. Melissa Gjellstad serving as moderator.

Bancroft, a native of Scandia, Minn., was the first known woman in history to ski across ice to the North and South Poles. Also, in 1986, she and Will Steger were part of an expedition that used dogsleds to cover more than 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories of Canada to the North Pole. She also led the 1993 American Women’s Expedition to the South Pole, a 67-day trek of 660 miles on skis.

In 2000, Bancroft and Liv Arnesen made history again by becoming the first women to cross Antarctica. They plan to return to Antarctica this year with a team of women from around the world to promote the cause for “Access to Water.”

Bancroft founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation, which offers grants to girls in Minnesota to explore their interests. She was also featured in the book Remarkable Women of the Twentieth Century, inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995 and named Ms. Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1995. She’s a longtime elementary educator and coach.

Members of the Grand Forks community, including Grand Forks Public Schools students and teachers as well as UND students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to submit questions to Ann Bancroft so that she might answer them during the Great Conversation event on April 12. Questions can be submitted to http://und.edu/coldrecall

The Great Conversation with Ann Bancroft is part of a larger traveling exhibit this is visiting UND this month, titled “Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer” –  about one of the greatest adventures of the early 20th century: the race to the South Pole.

The exhibit will be on display until April 27 in the UND Chester Fritz Library.

Event schedule:
The UND Chester Fritz Library and Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures are hosting the “Cold Recall” exhibit and related programming that spotlights UND research and related events in Antarctica:

  • April 12: Great Conversation with Polar explorer, Ann      Bancroft, with Dr. Melissa Gjellstad, 7:30 p.m., Chester Fritz AUDITORIUM.
  • April 17: “No Shower, No Problem” Dr. Jaakko      Putkonen and his Student Polar Research Team, 7 p.m., Chester Fritz      LIBRARY.
  • April 24: Film Screening: Encounters at the End of the      World with discussion by Dr. Olaf Berwald, 7 p.m., Chester Fritz LIBRARY.

All events are free and open to the public. The Great Conversation will be held in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. All other events will be held in the Chester Fritz Library.

Exhibit background:
Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole on Dec. 14, 1911, only a few weeks before Englishman Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen was celebrated in his native Norway and throughout the world for his achievement, considered one of the great triumphs of human endurance of the age.

Created by the Fram Museum (Oslo, Norway), in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the exhibit marks the 100th anniversary of famed polar explorer Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole from 1910-1912. The exhibit is touring the United States under the sponsorship of the Royal Norwegian Embassy; this will be the only showing of the exhibit in North Dakota.

The exhibit is a collection of 48 posters that features hand-colored lantern slides taken by Amundsen crew member Olav Bjaaland during the expedition. Accompanying texts on the posters stem from Amundsen’s writings from these journeys. Because the majority of his own photos had been damaged, Amundsen used Bjaaland’s images to illustrate his expeditions to the South Pole and through the Northwest Passage at public lectures that doubled as fundraising events for future explorations.

Amundsen’s other notable accomplishments include being the first person to reach both the South and North Pole and the first successfully to traverse the Northwest Passage via boat. He was also one of the first to use airplanes to explore the northern polar regions. Amundsen died in 1928 while flying a rescue mission in the north polar area.

The exhibit and programming are supported in part by the University of North Dakota, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Contact:
For additional information, contact Dr. Melissa Gjellstad at 701.777.0487, or Wilbur Stolt at 701.777.2189.

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