A ship expressly designed for polar travel, the Fram has the distinction of having advanced further north and further south than any other surface vessel. "Fram" means "Forward" in English.

Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen believed that he could freeze a ship in the Arctic ice pack and drift towards the North Pole. The Fram was the ship that was designed and built for this purpose. It proved capable of withstanding the pressures of the ice after being frozen into the pack in September 1893, north of the New Siberian islands.

As the Fram drifted in the pack, careful studies of the ocean and its currents were undertaken. Among the discoveries was the fact that the Arctic Ocean is a great deal deeper than most people had thought. As the drift continued, it became clear that the ship would not reach the Pole.

On its second voyage, Otto Sverdrup used Fram to explore the areas Northwest of Greenland between 1898 and 1902. Between 80,000 and 120,000 square miles of new land were discovered and mapped.

Roald Amundsen´s conquest of the South Pole (1910 - 1912) was launched from the Fram, which landed at the Bay of Whales.