THE EXPLORERS CLUB was founded in New York in 1904. Its purpose is to support and popularize research of the Earth, sea depths, outer space and care for the preservation of the world’s natural and cultural heritage.
The club has over 3,000 members from around 60 countries. It has 26 branches on five continents. One of them is the Polish Branch (see below). The headquarters are in New York, Manhattan. You cannot sign up to the Club, you must be chosen by the Board of Directors from among the invited and recommended candidates. The Explorers Club annual meetings take place in March at Headquarters with a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria.
Club members were or are:
The first explorers of Earth’s poles – Roald Amundsen and Robert Peary, on the moon – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, researcher of chimpanzee – Jane Goodall and gorillas – Diane Fossey, head of the victorious expedition to Mount Everest – Lord John Hunt and the first conqueror of this summit – Sir Edmund Hillary ; sailor, archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and ocean archaeologist Robert Ballard, who found the wreck of the “Titanic”; Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard – the first people who reached the deepest place of our planet, the bottom of the Marian Trench in the “Trieste” bathyscaphe, and director and oceanographer James Cameron who did so 52 years later alone in the Deepsea Challenger bathyscaphe; National Geographic president – Gilbert M. Grosvenor and others.
Honorary members are: polar explorers – Sir Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott, Robert Edwin Peary, Fridtjof Nansen; aviators – Richard Evelyn Byrd, Lincoln Ellsworth, Charles. A. Lindbergh; U.S. president Theodore D. Roosevelt, oceanographer William Beebe, climbers Tenzing Norgay, Norman Dyhrenfuhrt, Reinhold Messner among others.
The first women were admitted to the Club in 1981.
History of the Polish Chapter of the Explorers Club
The first Pole at The Explorers Club was Henryk Arctowski – a polar explorer, scientific director of an international expedition on a wooden sailing ship Belgica – the first to winter in Antarctica (1897-99). Second, Antoni Jurasz – surgeon, professor at the University of Poznań, creator and dean of the Polish Faculty of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The first member admitted after World War II was Kazimierz Kordylewski – astronomer, discoverer of the Earth’s Dust Moons (called the Rings or Kordylewski Moons).