Ann Bancroft

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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future


The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Ann Bancroft

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 12, 2022

This time of year thinking about Antarctica really puts things in perspective.

On January 14, 1993, Ann Bancroft of Saint Paul reached the South Pole by skis, becoming the first woman to travel overland to both the North and South Poles.

MNHS is proud to have an extensive collection of materials Bancroft used and in some cases invented to document her important story. Bancroft is an explorer, educator, and philanthropist who started the Ann Bancroft Foundation dedicated to inspiring and supporting girls in fulfilling their dreams.

Seen here are a pair of cross-country skis used by Ann Bancroft of Minnesota during the 2000-2001 Bancroft-Arnesen Expedition to Antarctica.

Learn More about Minnesota’s Polar Explorers: