Explore Collections

The Explorers Club Research Collections contain approximately 14,000 volumes (1400 of which comprise the Rare Book Collection), 550 linear feet of archives and manuscripts, 1,000 artifacts, 3,500 maps, and 500 films and videos housed throughout Club Headquarters.
Explore everything from Matthew Henson’s mittens worn on the North Pole Expedition (1909), expedition manuscripts and journals, the globe where Thor Heyerdahl planned the Kon-Tiki expedition, flags from pioneering expeditions including the Apollo 11 Mission, photos, films, maps and more!

Collections highlights

Kon-Tiki Globe This globe was used by Thor Heyerdahl to plan the iconic 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition on which Heyerdahl and his team sailed 4300 miles from Peru to Polynesia on a balsa wood raft to determine potential routes of Polynesian colonization.
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Matthew Henson's North Pole Mittens Pioneering explorer Matthew Henson wore these mittens on the 1909 North Pole Discovery expedition with Robert Peary and four Inuit guides: Ootah, Ooqueah, Seegloo, and Egigingwah. The mittens were specially crafted for Henson by the Inuit and are made of sealskin leather and polar bear fur. He inscribed the outer leather layer "Worn by me to it" -- "it" referring to the North Pole.
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US Exploration Map This map was initially prepared in 1907 and details the routes of major US exploration including expeditions led by Ponce de Leon, Henry Hudson, and Lewis & Clark.
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Theodore Roosevelt's Membership Application President Theodore Roosevelt was elected to Explorers Club Membership in 1915 after participating in a storied collection of expeditions, including his fateful River of Doubt Expedition (1913-14). He attended a luncheon at the Club in 1916.
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Napoleon's Description de L'Égypte The Explorers Club Rare Book Collection includes a rare first edition of Napoleon's Description de l'Égypte, a series of publications, appearing first in 1809 and continuing until the final volume appeared in 1829, which aimed to comprehensively catalog all known aspects of ancient and modern Egypt as well as its natural history.
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"Yeti" Scalp This replica "Yeti" scalp was created by Marlin Perkins as a result of Sir Edmund Hillary's 1960 Himalayan expedition. Among other things, Hillary was investigating the origins of what was believed to be a Yeti scalp worshiped by a small village and said to ward off yeti attacks. After testing, the original scalp was found to actually have been made with serow, the hide of a Himalayan goat-antelope.
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Apollo 11 Moon Flag This Explorers Club Flag was carried to the Moon by Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins signed and returned the Flag after their successful mission.
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The Explorers Club World Oceans Week Virtual Gallery?

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Come explore with us!

The Club welcomes visits by members, scholars and others interested in the history and practice of exploration.
We welcome school groups of all ages. For touring information
Building tours are offered at most public events, check out our events schedule to find out more.
Hosting a private event at the Club? Add a tour for your guests!


Plan a visit to our Research Collections to explore our unique holdings.

  • Overview
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    Every year people from all walks of life consult our Research Collections. These include writers, genealogists, filmmakers, and curators. We are also consulted by journalists and photo researchers, independent enthusiasts, staff members, club members and students.

  • Access
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    While we truly welcome all individuals, the Club’s resources are limited and our collections geared to the specialist. We encourage all potential researchers to make full use of their local libraries, archives and museums before exploring what the Club has to offer. Priority among researchers will be given to those who are seeking information unique to our collections.

    The Archives are wheelchair accessible, however there are spaces in the building that unfortunately are not.

  • Services
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    The Curator will endeavor to direct all researchers to appropriate sources, but cannot do research on behalf of users or duplicate and send large amounts of information.

    Scanning and photographing of images is subject to the condition of the original and an appropriate fee.

    Those wishing to consult the collections should contact the Curator at researchcollections@explorers.org for general guidance and to make an appointment.

  • Appointments
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    Please note that research appointments must be made in advance. Appointments may be made between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday. Those planning a visit should consult a copy of our Research Rules. All of those visiting the collections will need to sign a copy of these rules, as well as presenting a photo ID to the Curator.