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Sir Edmund Hillary Exhibition

September 23, 2004

Otago Museum to open major Sir Edmund Hillary Exhibition from next month

The greatest ever collection of Sir Edmund Hillary related items opens at the Otago Museum in Dunedin next month.

The Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest and Beyond exhibition opens on October 16 and ends on March 21. The Otago Museum is the only South Island venue for the special exhibition .

The exhibition was developed by the Auckland Museum in partnership with the National Geographic Society, curated by Alexa Johnston with the full support of Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary.

It was hugely successful at the Auckland Museum two years ago and also at the National Geographic Explorer’s Hall of Fame in Washington DC last year.

``The exhibition is truly an international showcase of remarkable treasures ,’’ Otago Museum director Shimrath Paul said today.

``This is an outstanding opportunity for New Zealanders, and potentially the last time the public will ever see such an extensive Hillary collection,’’ he said.

The exhibition explores all aspects of Hillary's life, from his early years as a beekeeper and novice climber, to his celebrated Everest climb 51 years ago, to his humanitarian work for the people of the Himalaya.

The exhibition shows panoramic landscapes, original film footage of the 1953 expedition, replica Sherpa buildings and never-before-seen objects from the Everest ascent. It charts Hillary's other journeys, including his South Pole tractor trek in 1957, and his jet boat journey up the Ganges River following the death of his wife and daughter in 1975.

Exhibit highlights include: the ice axe he used on Everest; the Kodak Retina 35mm camera with which he took the legendary summit photographs; the clothing he wore on the summit; the nylon rope, oxygen frame, pack and mask he used during the climb; one of the three tractors driven to the South Pole; precious gifts from Sherpa friends,; his famous home-made blue and white sunhat; and a selection of Hillary's many awards and decorations from the Order of the Garter to a medal from the Kathmandu Taxi Drivers Association.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to view the five-month exhibition which explores the remarkable accomplishments of an extraordinary New Zealander.

The Otago Museum was judged the best culture and heritage attraction in New Zealand at last month’s Tourism Awards.

ENDS




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