Soviet-Time Polar Ice Camp Restored To Become A Museum

Soviet-Time Polar Ice Camp Restored To Become A Museum

ST. PETERSBURG - ARKHANGELSK, January 15. /TASS/. St. Peters burg's historians within four years will restore and then turn into a museum of the Arctic's development an aircraft hangar at the Tikhaya Bay of Franz-Josef Land. The project would be the first experience in the Arctic restoration, the project's initiator, representing the Military-Historical Society.

"The aircraft hangar at the Tikhaya Bay, on the Hooker Island of the Franz-Josef Land archipelago, will be restored and we shall organize exhibition space there - it will be changing, and there tourists may come to have tea, to listen to stories about the Arctic's development," he said, adding the exposition would include a model of the U-2 aircraft, many of which used to be using the island as a base back in the 1930s.

Besides, the museum will host temporary exhibitions, though the local weather conditions may be unsuitable for rare or valuable objects. The hangar museum would be a convenient platform to present to visitors history of the Soviet polar aviation and of the Franz-Josef Land archipelago, the expert added.

Head of the Polar commission at the Russian Geographical Society Viktor Boyarsky confirmed to TASS that the restoration at the Tikhaya Bay would be the first experience of the kind at the old ice camps. "Museums in the Arctic do exist already, the experience of reviving ice camps - too, but it would be for the first time ever that facilities of a polar ice camp would be restored," he explained.

"To this time has survived a unique complex of an ice camp's buildings dated beginning of the XX century - the most romantic time of the Arctic exploration..." head of the historic-cultural heritage department at the Russian Arctic National Park Evgeny Yermolov told TASS. "In the 1930s, at the time of booming studies and exploration in high latitudes, the Tikhaya Bay without exaggeration was the Soviet Arctic's capital." According to him, it was a biggest and well-equipped camp.

The project's aspects

According to Filin, it will take about four years to restore the hangar of about 300 square meters and to organize an exposition there. "Our project already has a strategic investor, though we have not calculated the exact costs. Clearly, those would not be crazy amounts," he said, adding the hangar's racks are made of wood with metal fragments.

"Back then, it was a big and complicated structure. Building it on Franz-Josef Land was a super complicated task," "It is a great luck the hangar has survived to this date."
Filin, in his turn, said first of all specialists would address emergency works. The biggest problem, he continued, is to deliver to the Tikhaya Bay the necessary materials, as any chartered flights would raise the cost dramatically. However, icebreakers berth Franz-Josef Land in summer - they take tourists to the North Pole, and historians, he continued, hope to negotiate the icebreakers could deliver certain cargoes.

"If we manage to settle the transportation problem, all the rest are reasonable costs," he said. "We hope for understanding and support from Rosatomflot (nuclear fleet authority), though as of yet we do not have any formal agreements with them."

Soviet-time polar ice camp restored to become a museum
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