THE EXPLORERS CLUB was founded in New York in 1904. Its purpose is to promote and popularize the study of the Earth, the deep sea, space and care to preserve the world’s natural and cultural heritage.
The club has approximately 3,000 members from over 60 countries. It has 28 branches. The Head Office is located in New York, in Manhattan. In order to be a member one must be chosen by the Board of Directors from among the invited and recommended to the candidates. The Annual meeting of The Explorers Club takes place in March at the Headquarters during a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria.
Club members were the first people at the poles – Roald Amundsen and Robert Peary; on the moon – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin; chimpanzee researcher – Jane Goodall and gorilla researcher – Diane Fossey; head of the victorious expedition to Mount Everest – Lord John Hunt; and the first winner of the summit – sir Edmund Hillary; sailor, archaeologogist Thor Heyerdahl; and marine archaeologist Robert Ballard who found the wreck of “Titanic”; the first people who went to the deepest places of our planet, the bottom of the Mariana Trench – Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard; President of National Geographic – Gilbert M. Grosvenor, and others.
As a member of the honorary opening: polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, aviator Charles. A. Lindbergh, President Theodore D. Roosevelt, oceanographer William Beebe, geophysicist Jean G.Piccard; mountaineers Tenzing Norgay, Norman Dyhrenfuhrt, and Reinhold Messner.
The first Polish Club member was admitted in 1920. Henryk Arctowski – polar head of the international scientific expedition on a wooden sailing ship Belgica (1897-1899) which wintered in Antarctica. Next, Antoni Jurasz – a surgeon, a professor at the University of Poznan, founder and dean of the Polish Faculty of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The first after World War II, adopted from the Polish territory was Kazimierz Kordylewski – astronomer and discoverer of the moon’s dust rings.
This club is a tradition. Its headquarters in New York’s upper Manhattan / East Side / resembles a Gothic castle with soaring windows and stained glass arches. On the top floor there is a “Trophy Room” dating back to the time when members of the Club brought home stuffed animals, skins, tusks and monuments instead of photographs and tales.
Not every expedition member of the Club can take the flag. The grant depends on the rank of the expedition, which is assessed by a special committee for flags and decorations. This committee determines whether the project “deserves” to have such an honor.
Among the traditions and rituals of the Club one is unusual – the tradition of pitching the flag. Members of The Explorers Club can take with them on a journey club flag. After returning they transfer it to the next team to go on another expedition. In this way, between the more than three thousand members the club has worldwide, circulate 202 flags.