A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to tag along with the Atlas Obscura team on a backstage tour of the Explorer's Club in Manhattan. I've been dreaming about seeing the inside of this place for years, and I can assure you that it far exceeded my expectations. The globe on which the Kon-Tiki route was (rumored to have been) planned! A sperm whale penis bone charmingly mounted on a cutout of a sperm whale! Pith Helmets galore! Numerous piles of rocks from exotic locales haphazardly balanced on every shelf! A mounted walrus head (which I took about 765 pictures of because I want to marry it)!
It's a truly inspiring and remarkable place, and knowing that there are death-defying expedition stories of exploration and adventure behind every object in the place makes it a priceless collection. Sadly, our tour guide knew nothing of these stories ("What expedition is this arctic sledge from?" "An important one." "Do you know anything about this tusk?" "It's very old.")
I was able to figure out, with no help from the tour guide, that this flag was taken to the Gobi Desert in 1925 by famous paleontologist, Roy Chapman Andrews.
The trophy room. Mark my words, one day my living room will be an exact replica of this room. Does anyone have a spare woolly mammoth tusk they want to give me to start things off?
Who doesn't love a pith helmet and a puka shell mask?
Polar bear on the second floor landing! Our guide managed to impart some information here - "It's not a very big one."
This is obviously an extreme close up, but this globe is huge. Like if you took 4 exercise balls and stuck them together to made one big ball out of them (I've never been very good at similes).
It's a library full of books solely on the subject of exploration. YES. (Books are on the other wall, not pictured. I promise, they were there)
I love this little guy with his harpoon.
I think the big antlered one is a caribou.
Who knew there were stones on Mt. Everest?
Explorers Club Research Library: even more books on exploration!
The aforementioned sperm whale penis bone. It kind of looks like a carrot. A huge, giant carrot.
Lots more pictures of our tour can be seen in this here Flickr Set.