Discovery Ship Museum Dundee
The Discovery Ship Museum Dundee is situated
close to the City centre by the Train
The Museum can be visited all year with an
entrance fee. Postcode: DD1 4XA
Click On Map for area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
This is the famous ship used in Antarctic
expeditions with one being led by Captain Scott in the early
1900s. Discovery was launched at Dundee in 1901
and returned to Dundee in 1986 to serve as a
The image top is of RRS Discovery and the
Ship Museum with the new V&A Design Museum
to the left. These museums are on the
waterfront by the Train Station, where the one
mile long Tay Road Bridge crosses into
RRS Discovery History
1820 - a number of explorers from around the
world sighted Antarctica from their ships.
1821 - the first landing on Antarctica was
probably by the American sealer, Captain John
1840 - Sir James Clark Ross discovered
Ross Island in
Antarctica, with the Island becoming a base for
many explorations in the early 1900s. Ross had led an
expedition with two Navy ships to document some
of the Antarctic coast.
1892 - four steam-powered wooden whaling
ships set out from Dundee to the Antarctic. The
Blue Whales of the Antarctic were too large for
them to capture, so they collected a large
number of seal pelts to fund the voyage. The
expedition included polar scientists and they
1890s late - the British Government began
looking for a ship to carry out expeditions to
Dundee was the largest Whaling port in the
UK with a number of Boat Builders constructing
wooden Whaling Boats, ideal for the Antarctic
ice conditions, easily repaired, and wooden
ships were easier to navigate as compasses
worked better on them than they did on metal
This was a time when most UK yards had began
building metal ships. Dundee was one of only a
few places where large wooden ships were still
1901 March - the 172ft, 52m RRS Discovery
was launched by the Dundee Shipbuilders
1901 August - Discovery set out from England
to New Zealand with Captain Scott
Shackleton in charge, traveling around the
African Cape of Good Hope.
1901 December - after minor repairs,
Discovery set out from Lyttelton
Harbour in New Zealand for the Antarctic.
Explorers new little about Antarctica at that
1902 January 8th - Discovery reached the
Antarctic coast with the explorers charting the
1902 February - the expedition docked at
Ross Island in McMurdo Sound where they built
the now famous Discovery
Discovery was locked in ice for the
following two years. During this time, the
expedition found Antarctica was a continent,
and Scott set a new southern record by walking
to latitude 82°S, discovering the Antarctic
Rescue ships were sent but could do little
to free the ship.
1904 February 16th - with the use of
dynamite, Discovery was freed from the pack
ice. The ship sailed for home the following
1904 September 10th - Discovery arrived back
in the UK.
1905 - Discovery was sold to the Hudson's
Bay Company to be used as a cargo ship running
between London and Hudson Bay in Canada. The
ship was also used by the British Government
during World War One for transferring
1910 - Captain Scott departed south Wales on
an old converted whaler named Terra Nova for
an attempt at being the first person to reach
the South Pole.
1912 January 17th - Captain Scott and 5 men
reached the South Pole only to discover the
Norwegian Roald Amundsen
had reached the Pole five weeks earlier.
1912 March 29th? - Captain Scott Died on his
800 mile return journey from the South Pole to
the ship docked at Ross Island.
1925 - Discovery was acquired by the British
Government to carry out further research in the
Southern Seas. The ship was then used to
examine captured whales and observe their
numbers and movements, as well as making
oceanographic surveys of the seas.
1927 - Discovery was used in the Southern
Seas again to tag whales and monitor whaling
1929 - Discovery was used by the British
Australian and New Zealand Antarctic
Research Expedition to explore Antarctica and
claim parts of the Continent with its rich seas
for the British Empire.
1930 - Discovery was used again to claim
more land for the British Empire, even carrying
a small plane that flew around the Continent
dropping British flags on land hard to reach by
1936 - Discovery was used by the Boy Scouts
Association in London as a static training
1954 - Discovery was used as a drill ship
for the Royal Navy Auxiliary Reserve and
training ship for Sea Cadets.
1979 - Discovery was used as a museum on the
River Thames in London.
1985 - Discovery was acquired by the Dundee
1986 - Discovery was transported from London
aboard the cargo ship Happy Mariner to her new
home in Dundee, where she was built.
1992 - Discovery was moved to a purpose
built dry dock by the centre of Dundee with a
modern visitor centre known as Discovery
2001 - a £1 Billion project began to
transform the city of Dundee by connecting the
city centre and waterfront with large leisure
spaces and new museums.