Franz Josef Land could get an Arctic museum

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - March 8, 2017
Abandoned polar station Tikhaya in Arctic - Franz Josef Land Archipelago, Russia. (Getty)
Abandoned polar station Tikhaya in Arctic – Franz Josef Land Archipelago, Russia. (Getty)

The Russian Arctic National Park could see a new outdoor museum devoted to the Arctic, backers said, following a visit by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy to the park last month.

The outdoor exhibit will show the history of Russian Arctic exploration, initiators told Donskoy during a visit on site.

The head of the park, Aleksandr Kirilov, argues that the museum should include key items from the first half of the 20th century when Soviet explorers actively moved into the area.

Among them should be a replica of the first Soviet polar station, vehicles, snowmobiles and aviation, he told Donskoy.

The minister was on a visit to the far northern archipelago in mid-February, the national park informs in a press release. Along with him was Governor of Arkhangelsk Oblast Igor Orlov and Bishop Iakov of Naryan-Mar and Mezen.

According to Kirilov, the museum could include several branches located on selected sites, among them on both the Franz Josef Land and the Novaya Zemlya. Donskoy supports the proposal, Kirilov says.

In the course of summer 2017, employees of the Russian Arctic National Park intend to restore a historic polar station on the islands of Guker and Aldzher, the park informs.

The Russian Arctic National Park includes the Franz Josef Land and parts of Novaya Zemlya. The former archipelago has a total of 192 islands which stretch over a 375 east-west area. The islands are objects of interesting interest among Arctic tourism companies.

Franz Josef Land is also an area of major military investments. The new and upgraded Nagurskoye military base is expected to be fully operational in the course of 2017.