Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum
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Exhibits
Greenland Summer
June 2, 1998 - August 30, 1998

Summer is a special time in Northwest Greenland. The sun shines twenty-four hours a day. Plants and flowers abound. Migratory birds flock to their breeding grounds by the thousands. Icebergs calved from the many glaciers float by, pushed south by ocean currents. It can be a time of bounty for Arctic families, but it is also a time of hard work.

This venue for photographic exhibits has been made possible through the generous support of the Association of Bowdoin Friends.



Pictured above: Rutherford Platt 1947, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Alexander, Rutherford and Susan Platt.
<p><b>Netting Little Auks.</b> </p>  Little auks returning from the south mark the beginning of summer for the people of Northwest Greenland. Polar Inuit men and women catch them in nets. Some birds are eaten while fresh, but more are stored in sealskin bags, to be enjoyed months later at festivals and ceremonies. <br> <br>  Donald MacMillan 1913-1917. Etah, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Ka-ko-chee-ah getting eggs of Sea Pigeons from crack.</b> </p>  Polar Inuit men, women and children gather eggs along steep cliffs where little auks and other birds nest by the thousand. Eggs are a summer delicacy, a delightful treat after a winter diet of meat and blubber.<br> <br>  Donald MacMillan 1913-1917, Etah, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>Traveling on the ice foot, the only road on late spring days.</b> </p>  By late spring, a fringe of ice along the shore is all that is left of the sea ice. Ice makes winter travel by dog sledge easy but as it melts, families move less often. Small groups of families often camp in one spot most of the summer.<br> <br>  Donald MacMillan 1923-1924, Below Cape Alexander, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>In-you-ghi-to’s Family by Their Tupik.</b> </p>  In summer, Polar Inuit families used to live in sealskin tents or tupiks. Today families often camp away from town during the summer, using canvas tents.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan 1923-1924, Nerky, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>Typical summer encampment of the Smith Sound Native. </b> </p>  During the summer, Polar Inuit hunt sea mammals and migratory birds. They camp along the shore where access to these resources is best.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan 1923-1924, Akbat, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Inuit Women Sewing a Kayak Cover.</b> </p>  Women prepare the covers for wood frame kayaks and sew them on with waterproof stitches. Girls learn how to make kayak covers and other necessities by watching and copying the women around them.<br><br>  Reginald Wilcox? n.d., Greenland, Gift of David Nutt.

<p><b>Polar Inuit Men Hunting from Kayaks.</b> </p>  Summer hunting in open water requires boats. Since the mid-nineteenth century, Polar Inuit have used fast and quiet kayaks to hunt seal, walrus, and narwhal from the water.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan ca. 1923-1924, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Ak-pood-ah-shaho.</b> </p>  Waterproof clothing is important during northern summers to keep people warm and dry. Women sew sealskin parkas and boots (kamiks) using special waterproof stitches.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan 1913-1917, Etah, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>Polar Inuit Men Testing Strength by the Arm Pull.</b> </p>  Games such as the arm pull are popular at any time of year. Inuit use these games to build and test strength, endurance, and coordination—important skills for hunters.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan 1923-1924, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>E-tee-dook Asleep on Rocks.</b> </p>  After the hard work of gathering eggs or netting auks, a nap in the warm summer sun can be irresistible.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan 1923-1924, Alida Lake, Northwest Greenland, Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>Donald MacMillan with Polar Inuit Women and Child.</b> </p>  Polar Inuit families spend most of their time outside as everyone takes advantage of the brief Arctic summer. Here Donald MacMillan and a young friend watch as women prepare food and clean hides in the summer sun.<br><br>  Donald MacMillan 1913-1917,  Northwest Greenland, Gift of Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>The Bowdoin off Shore, Polar Inuit Watching.</b> </p>  Donald MacMillan and the schooner Bowdoin were regular summer visitors to Northwest Greenland. Since the late nineteenth century, Polar Inuit families have hosted whalers, explorers, and researchers during the Arctic summer.<br><br>  Rutherford Platt 1947, North Greenland, Gift of Alexander, Rutherford and Susan Platt.

<p><b>Tundra Plants - Grasses, Mosses and Buttercups and Tundra forming behind a retreating glacier.</b> </p>  Flowers are abundant in the High Arctic summer. At the foot of a glacier, mosses begin the process of soil formation, which in turn allows other plants to grow. Photographer and naturalist Rutherford Platt traveled north with MacMillan to document the adaptations of Arctic plants.<br><br>  Rutherford Platt 1947,  Northwest Greenland, Gift of Alexander, Rutherford and Susan Platt.
<p><b>Tundra Plants - Grasses, Mosses and Buttercups and Tundra forming behind a retreating glacier.</b> </p>  Flowers are abundant in the High Arctic summer. At the foot of a glacier, mosses begin the process of soil formation, which in turn allows other plants to grow. Photographer and naturalist Rutherford Platt traveled north with MacMillan to document the adaptations of Arctic plants. <br><br>  Rutherford Platt 1947,  Northwest Greenland, Gift of Alexander, Rutherford and Susan Platt.