With the advisement of several Joint Program on Global Change researchers – including the co-director Ron Prinn and co-director emeritus Jake Jacoby – the MIT Museum opened last week a new exhibition “Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya.” The exhibit draws from mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears’ breathtaking photographs, and places them in context with those of earlier mountaineer photographers – revealing the glacial melt that has occurred over time.
Breashears, who took the photos throughout his forty-five expeditions to the Himalaya, views the Rivers of Ice exhibition as an opportunity to trigger public dialogue as scientists and policymakers work to better understand what exactly is happening to the glaciers of the Greater Himalaya. Formed by the collision of continents, the water from the glacial ice melt in the Himalaya contributes to watersheds that serve the drinking, agriculture and business needs of more than 1 billion people throughout Asia. As the snow cover melts and the glaciers of the Greater Himalaya retract and change, the need for greater and more detailed understanding of their importance to human and ecological systems increases. Breashears hopes the exhibit – and a related symposium taking place on Saturday, April 21 – will provide insight into some of the groundbreaking research being done to better understand the glaciers’ potential impact on global environmental issues.
Rivers of Ice, once viewed, cannot be forgotten. By experiencing the photography 'in the round' and at large scale, by viewing artifacts from expeditions past and present, and by learning about the people who call the Himalaya home, MIT Museum visitors gain a deeper understanding of the grand beauty of these mountains, as well as their significance to the global challenges we face today.
The exhibit, which will be open from April 13, 2012 to March 17, 2013, is a collaboration between the MIT Museum, GlacierWorks, and the Asia Society and designed by ThincDesign.
More information about the exhibit can be found here: web.mit.edu/museum/exhibitions/rivers-of-ice.html