Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Public Invited: Explorers Club Open House, July 28

Members and Public Discover
The Explorers Club “North Face”;
Celebration of completion of
Phase I Headquarters Renovation

Open House, Thursday, July 28,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Public Welcome

NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 26, 2011) – Members of The Explorers Club, the world renowned international exploration organization, will soon discover a bit of urban archaeology unseen for years – the North Face of their iconic Upper East Side headquarters named for famed broadcaster and Club member Lowell Thomas.

The 107-year-old Club will celebrate completion of the restoration of its 46 East 70th Street north-facing façade, and removal of construction scaffolding, with a public open house starting with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, July 28, at 11 a.m. Immediately following the ribbon ceremony, a climber will descend the east exterior wall of the six-story building, highlighting the next area of the building targeted for Phase II of the renovation project. The Phase II renovation will also focus on the Club’s outside terrace and a colonnade of particular historical import that dates from the medieval period, another portion of which is believed to be housed at The Cloisters.

Upon taking office as president in 2009, Lorie Karnath ¬– the 37th president and second female president in the Club’s 107-year history – launched a fundraising campaign to raise capital to begin the much needed revitalization of the 100-year-old headquarters. This initial campaign has raised the most amount of money to date for the Club under one administration.

“As explorers our mission is to not only conduct field research and add to man’s body of scientific knowledge, but to help ensure cultural and historical preservation as well. In this instance, cultural preservation starts at H.Q.,” stated Karnath.

In addition to restoring the façade of the Jacobean revival mansion, Phase I of the renovation involved repairing 114 stained-glass windows; installing a new roof membrane; replacing limestone ribs on the exterior; and repointing the South and East façades.

A spectacular 3-1/2-story bay window was meticulously rebuilt with reinforced stone, cast and color matched to the original that had deteriorated beyond repair.

The initial building fundraising campaign “Preserve a Brick” called for $50 donations to preserve each brick. “Adoptions” of stained-glass windows were offered beginning at $5,000 each, supplementing the numerous donations received from private individuals as well as a number of foundations including the Mabel Dorn Reeder and Richard Olson Foundations.

Rarely Viewed Artifacts

Rarely viewed artifacts from the Club’s extensive collection will be displayed throughout the day. These will include fragments of matting used in the burial of 10th century Alaskan mummies; a Polar Capsule left at the North Pole by the 1986 Steger North Pole Expedition and recovered off the north coast of Ireland three years later; an axe from 1911 used in the construction of Robert Falcon Scott's base shelter in Antarctica; and a 1906 recording made by Robert E. Peary, who would successfully claim to reach the North Pole in 1909.

There will also be a solar display courtesy of event sponsor Eastern Mountain Sports where guests can charge their cell phones while viewing the building’s elegant interior.

The unveiling of the North Façade and open house will be followed that evening by a presidential picnic hosted by President Karnath to launch Phase II of the capital campaign (tickets required). Old Pulteney has prepared an appropriate whisky tasting for the event in celebration of the restored North Face of the Lowell Thomas Building, the Club’s polar traditions, and Old Pulteney’s current Arctic expedition, “Row to the Pole.”

For more information: www.explorers.org.