Welcome to the McMurdo Dry Valleys Historical Archive!

Overview: Integrating Science and Society

In 1903, Captain Scott and his two companions became the first humans ever to see the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) in East Antarctica. Since then, relatively few people have ever visited the region, and the majority of these visitors have been involved in scientific activity. This project uses environmental history to examine the interactions between human activity, scientific research, and environmental change in this unique region over the past 100 years.

The first stage of this project has involved research into the earlier human history of this region. Current research is tracing the history of the MDV up to the present through archival research and oral history interviews, with a particular focus on the interaction between environmental change and scientific developments over time. As part of this process, we are collecting and digitizing thousands of historic photos, maps, and other archival material related to the MDV. These are being organized using a consistent metadata structure, which enables intuitive searches and data discovery.


Zoom in on the interactive map above and click on a lake, glacier, hut, or other feature to explore associated archival resources. 

Click "Search" at the top of the page for advanced searches and filtering.


The archive is currently undergoing maintenance. Please check back for updates!


For more information, or if you would like to contribute to the archive, use the Contact button at the top of this page or send an email to:


Adrian Howkins
Associate Professor of World Environmental History
Colorado State University
E-mail: adrian.howkins@colostate.edu


Andrew Fountain
Professor of Geography and Geology
Portland State University
E-mail: andrew@pdx.edu