R.R.S. Discovery

One of the benefits of working at a museum that is a member of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions is that it allows one to visit other member institutions for free. We took advantage of this on Monday, going to Dundee to see the R.R.S. (Royal Research Ship) Discovery — the same ship that carried Captain Scott and his team of intrepid explorers on their first journey to Antarctica in 1901.

Discovery Point has a museum packed with details of the ship’s construction and commission, including history about shipbuilding in Dundee — where the ship was built. We spent a couple of hours in just the museum, taking in all of what we could of the story. Then, upon exiting the museum, we came to the ship itself.

The R.R.S. Discovery is restored to how it was on its second Antarctic journey in the 1920s. Most of the decks are accessible to visitors; compared to the museum, the signage on the ship was not as informative, but it was still interesting and fun to walk around. It really helped me to re-visualise some of the scenes from Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian or any of the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik, especially the officers’ quarters and dining room. I kept wondering where the dragon deck would be — the Discovery couldn’t hold a dragon such as Temeraire of course, but maybe a Winchester…

Visiting Discovery Point all in all took about four hours, and that’s with reading nearly everything in the museum and spending quite a lot of time on the ship itself. It definitely makes for a good afternoon adventure!

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