Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum
Exhibits     Collections     Information     Tours & Education     Research     Arctic Studies      Store 
Exhibits
Schooner Bowdoin Summers
June 1, 2003 - October 1, 2003
Arctic Museum main galleries

In the years following World War II, Donald MacMillan continued his long career of Arctic research aboard the schooner Bowdoin. Many Bowdoin College students and other young men accompanied him on these summer expeditions, collecting data and samples for botanists, ornithologists and other researchers. A selection of photographs from those years document the day-to-day activities and adventures the young men experienced during these trips. 

This exhibit is supported by the Friends of Bowdoin College.



Pictured above: Donald B. MacMillan. Getting water off an iceberg, 1948. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Mending the Mainsail</b> </p>   Crew members had a variety of duties to attend to while on the expedition. In addition to gathering specimens for researchers, they all assisted with the day-to-day operations of the schooner. Some returned a number of times and were promoted as they gained experience. Peter Rand, shown here, was first mate on his second and third voyages.   <br> <br>  Donald B. MacMillan. Peter Rand mending the mainsail, 1949. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Daily Life</b> </p>   Young crew members learned all aspects of sailing a vessel aboard the <em>Bowdoin</em>. The crew was divided into two watches, so that one half of them were on duty at all times while under way. Climbing the mast to the ice bucket, navigating the ship through fields of pack ice and helping the cook in the galley were all a regular part of their duties.   <br> <br>  Abbass Studios. MacMillan and crew members below deck, Sydney, Nova Scotia, 1948. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan, Courtesy of Abbass Studios, Sydney, Nova Scotia.

<p><b>Daily Life</b> </p>   Young crew members learned all aspects of sailing a vessel aboard the <em>Bowdoin.</em> The crew was divided into two watches, so that one half of them were on duty at all times while under way. Climbing the mast to the ice bucket, navigating the ship through fields of pack ice and helping the cook in the galley were all a regular part of their duties.   <br> <br>  Donald B. MacMillan. Stanton Cook at the wheel of the <em> Bowdoin.</em>, 1949. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Miriam Look MacMillan.
<p><b>Daily Life</b> </p>   Young crew members learned all aspects of sailing a vessel aboard the <em>Bowdoin.</em> The crew was divided into two watches, so that one half of them were on duty at all times while under way. Climbing the mast to the ice bucket, navigating the ship through fields of pack ice and helping the cook in the galley were all a regular part of their duties.   <br> <br>  Donald B. MacMillan. Andy Pruitt at the ice bucket, 1949. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Miriam Look MacMillan.

<p><b>Daily Life</b> </p>   Young crew members learned all aspects of sailing a vessel aboard the <em>Bowdoin.</em> The crew was divided into two watches, so that one half of them were on duty at all times while under way. Climbing the mast to the ice bucket, navigating the ship through fields of pack ice and helping the cook in the galley were all a regular part of their duties.   <br> <br>  Donald B. MacMillan. Miriam MacMillan and Barney Turner, 1948. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Miriam Look MacMillan.
<p><b>Alexander Joins the Crew</b> </p>   Every voyage was different, and each had its highlights. In 1949, the crew was surprised to find that a young rough-legged hawk had joined them. Nicknamed Alexander, the hawk stayed aboard the <em>Bowdoin.</em> for days, traveling hundreds of miles. His visit is recorded in the films and photographs of many crew members. <br> <br>  Donald B. MacMillan. Alexander, aboard the <em>Bowdoin</em>, 1949. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>Clayton and Pups</b> </p>   Photographing and hunting animals were popular activities on all expeditions, but wild animals were not the only attraction. Inuit sledge dogs, and especially the ubiquitous puppies, were always a favorite. Here the cook, Clayton Hodgdon, plays with a group of young dogs in Northwest Greenland.   <br> <br>   Donald B. MacMillan. Clayton and Pups, Cape York, Greenland, 1948. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Boys at Farthest North </b> </p>   In 1948, during the <em>Bowdoin's</em> 16th expedition, favorable ice conditions allowed MacMillan to sail the schooner to its farthest north ever, only 11° from the North Pole. Although very strong, the  <em>Bowdoin</em> was not designed to break thick ice. The crew worked the ship through pack ice with someone in the ice bucket calling directions to the person at the wheel. Solid ice, such as the crew stands on here, signaled an end to any further progress.  <br> <br>   Donald B. MacMillan. Boys at farthest north: l-r, Paul Eitel, Al Barnes, Peter Rand (behind), Bill Deutsch, George Webster, Nate Corning (holding flag), Stanton Cook, Miriam MacMillan, Bruce Nelson (in front), John Snyder, Cliff Ives (behind), James Wiles. Kane Basin, 1948. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>Cape Sabine</b> </p>   In 1924, MacMillan had traveled by sledge from Greenland across Smith Sound to Cape Sabine on Ellesmere Island. There, at the site of 'Starvation Camp' he mounted a plaque commemorating Adolphus Greely's tragic expedition of 1881-84, when a number of people died. In 1950, he revisited the site for the first time, accompanied by Miriam and the rest of the crew.   <br> <br>   Donald B. MacMillan. Site of Greely Starvation Camp, Cape Sabine, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, 1950. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Miriam Look MacMillan.
<p><b>Ice</b> </p>   Heavy pack ice and icebergs are a constant threat to ships in the Arctic. Controlled by wind and currents, ice conditions can change rapidly, leading to close calls. Expedition members remember such events vividly. One such adventure happened while the <em>Bowdoin</em>  was anchored at Cape Sabine in August 1950. Pack ice was closing in when an iceberg, seen here in the distance, ran aground nearby, holding back the pack and allowing the <em>Bowdoin</em> to sail south.  <br> <br>   Donald B. MacMillan. Pack Ice, Cape Sabine, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, 1950. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.

<p><b>North Pole Expedition Seamstresses</b> </p>   For MacMillan and members of the crew, one of the highlights of these expeditions was visiting old friends. Here, MacMillan poses with three women who sewed clothing for the men on Robert E. Peary's 1908-09 expedition to the North Pole. MacMillan is still fondly remembered today in the communities he visited over the years.   <br> <br>  Miriam MacMillan. Tukummeq, Ivaloo, Donald B. MacMillan, and Inugarsuk aboard the <em>Bowdoin</em>, Northwest Greenland, 1950. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
<p><b>Hole in Face of a Glacier</b> </p>   The young men who sailed with MacMillan in the late 1940s and early 1950s returned home to take up their regular lives again. They had experienced the wondrous northern landscape, seen polar bears and walrus close-up, met people familiar to most of the world only through books, and learned new skills and responsibilities. A summer aboard the <em>Bowdoin</em> had a lasting impact on the lives of many of them.   <br> <br>  Donald B. MacMillan. Hole in the face of a glacier, unidentified location, 1948. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.