Fram Museum Oslo

The Best Polar Book In The World 2022 Published By The Fram Museum

The Director of the Fram Museum receives the William Mills Prize for 2022

The prize is awarded every other year to the author of the best non-fiction book related to Arctic or Antarctic released in the world during the last two years.

On June 9 2022 Geir O. Kløver was awarded the prestigious William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books for the book The Nansen Photographs, published by the Fram Museum in 2021.

“The William Mills Prize honours the best Arctic or Antarctic nonfiction books published throughout the world.” The prize is awarded by the Polar Libraries Colloquy – an organization that brings together universities and research institutions active in the polar regions.

The Nansen Photographs

The Nansen Photographs tells the story of Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his ground-breaking effort to reach the North Pole in the specially-designed polarship Fram. The story starts when the plan for the expedition was launched in 1890 and continues until the end of Nansen’s international lecture tour in 1897. We see how Nansen selected the cameras for the expedition, and photographs and information about the cameras themselves supplement this part.

One chapter is dedicated to the early life of Nansen and another shows how the ideas for the expedition and the ship developed. We follow the construction of Fram through numerous letters between Nansen and the ship’s designer and builder, Colin Archer, and five different sets of drawings of the vessel from the initial proposal to the final version are presented.

The main elements of the book are every single recovered photograph taken during the expedition together with personal diary entries from Nansen and seven of his crew members about the situation when the photographs were taken. This brings new life to previously known photographs and introduces the reader to hundreds of unknown photographs from the expedition. Due to the large format of the book, the smaller details in the photographs give new insight into the work and daily life on board, the equipment and the clothing.

Opposing diary entries from Nansen and the men about the same situations show that life on board was not always easy. Nansen’s lack of empathy and practical skills caused frustration among the men, and several of them resorted to fists to sort out their differences.

When Nansen leaves the ship for his legendary 18 month journey with Hjalmar Johansen towards the North Pole and Franz Josef Land, we follow both Nansen and Johansen and the crew left on board through their photographs and diaries.

The return to Norway and the spectacular celebration along the entire Norwegian coast from Vardø in the north to Kristiansand and Kristiania (Oslo) in the south is told in detail through photographs, newspaper reports, speeches, menus and ephemera. Never has the capital of Norway been so prepared to celebrate.

The 712-page book is printed on 130 gr paper in format 30 x 30 cm. The illustrated hardcover is protected by an illustrated dustjacket. The book contains 850 photographs and illustrations, 35 ship drawings and 25 maps.

The book includes diary excerpts from Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, Sigurd Scott Hansen, Henrik Greve Blessing, Hjalmar Johansen, Anton Amundsen, Bernhard Nordahl and Adolf Juell.

The Nansen Photographs is available in our bookstore at The Fram Museum, at Tronsmo in Oslo, or in our webshop here:

The book will be published in Germany and Russia in 2022.

The Limited Edition

A boxed limited edition has been produced in 200 numbered sets, with less than 100 sets remaining. Each set includes a complete leather-bound copy of The Nansen Photographs and also a leather-bound companion volume Fridtjof Nansen’s Maps. The companion volume is made especially for the limited edition.

The map collection gives a thorough insight into the exploration of the Arctic from 1734 to 1896, including handwritten and annotated maps, and rare charts given to Nansen by the Russian Government. They are accompanied by a chapter of notes describing the expeditions on which most of these maps are based.

The book has 112 pages in format 30 x 30 cm and contains 70 historical maps and charts.

About the author

Geir O. Kløver has been director of the Fram Museum since 2005. During this period, the Museum has been greatly upgraded and received several international awards for its immersive exhibitions. In 2021, the Museum was named the best attraction in Norway, regardless of category, on the website Tripadvisor. The Fram Museum is one of Norway’s most visited museums with 360,000 visitors annually, and in recent years has had exhibitions in 28 countries.

Geir’s previous book, Lessons from the Arctic – How Roald Amundsen won the Race to the South Pole, was also awarded the William Mills Prize, as one of the three best polar books in the world published in the period 2016 and 2017. He has edited 27 of the Norwegian polar explorers’ personal diaries for publication and published another 20 books on Norwegian and international polar history.

For more information:

Geir O. Kløver: Tlf 99503330

Julia Finn, coordinator William Mills Prize: