What was it like to live on the ice in 1950s?

LIVE ON THE ICE: Researchers lived in Hallett Station in the 1950s and '60s.
LIVE ON THE ICE: Researchers lived in Hallett Station in the 1950s and '60s.

Three new Antarctic exhibitions will open in Christchurch tomorrow ahead of NZ IceFest arriving in town next month.

Canterbury Museum will host two of the exhibitions, while an outdoor display of photographs will be stationed in Cathedral Square.

The exhibitions will be officially opened tonight by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

Hallett Station offers a chance to see what life was like for researchers on the ice in the 1950s and '60s.

The station was a joint scientific base for New Zealand and the United States from when it was built in 1957. But it was abandoned in 1973, nine years after a fire destroyed the main laboratory.

The station was removed from Antarctica between 2001 and 2005 and key elements were gifted to Canterbury Museum.

The historic exhibition will be complemented by Ice Lab, a series of five designs of Antarctica research stations illustrating how cutting-edge architecture enables scientists to live and work in extreme conditions.

Museum director Anthony Wright said the museum was delighted to celebrate Christchurch's long connection with Antarctica with two contrasting exhibitions.

"All human activity in Antarctic impacts on the environment, and both these exhibitions show how hard we now work to minimise those impacts," he said.

Cathedral Square will host Snapshot of Antarctica, an outdoor display of award-winning images of Antarctic people, places, wildlife and science.

NZ IceFest runs from September 27 to October 12 in Christchurch.

The Press