Opening in the fall of 2001, Ancient Ice, Cool Science: Climate Change in the North examined contemporary research on climate change in the Arctic. Using case studies drawn from current research, the exhibit explored how scientists study past climate change, how Arctic climate has changed in the past, and how people have adapted to changing conditions.
Using specific case studies, the exhibit presented information about how weather and climate are related, how past and current climates are studied, how Arctic climates have changed in the past, and how they are changing now, with a particular emphasis on how Arctic people have adapted to past climate change, as well as how present and future change may affect them. Compelling objects anchored each case study, including wood and leaf litter from 40-million year old deposits on Axel Heiberg Island, Norse and prehistoric Inuit objects from archaeological sites in Greenland and Canada, and a segment of the GISP2 ice core. Visitors were also able to engage in a variety of interactive modules to learn about topics ranging from dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) to contemporary Inuit views of climate change.