It’s May in the year 1904 and Henry Collins Walsh—journalist, historian, explorer of Central America and Greenland—rounds up 50 prominent explorers for dinner at the Aldine Association in New York. They are there to make a simple but elegant promise: to promote exploration by all possible means. They are there to form The Explorers Club.
The club’s centenarian townhouse headquarters on 70th street may be one of New York’s best kept secrets. A cross between the American Museum of Natural History and the Jacobean east wing of Crewe Hall, taxidermic polar bears, walruses, and snow leopards take up residence in this shrine to man’s curiosity of the natural world. One-of-a-kind artifacts gathered from the four corners of the earth quietly sit on display, whispering tales of adventure and daring to anyone pausing long enough to listen.
The Explorers Club (then) president, Lorie Karnath, opened their members-only* doors to Todd Selby for The Selby Book back in 2009 for a rare look inside (view the rest of his images at your leisure). It necessarily exaggerates what we love most about interiors: bringing the outdoors in, maximalism, and storytelling by way of collections.
* While membership to The Explorers Club may be elusive, its regularly held public lectures are not. One can attend as a guest for $20. We condone such intellectual curiosity.