Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum
Rutherford Platt, Spiderplant Saxifrage, Saxifraga flagellaris, bulbil, August 11, 1947, Kane Basin, Greenland. 35mm Kodachrome transparencies. Gift of Alexander D. Platt, '66, Rutherford Platt, Jr., and Susan Platt.
Blossoming Tundra: The Photography of Rutherford Platt
June 12, 2018 - October 1, 2018
Hubbard Hall foyer

Flowers bloom profusely in the brief summers of the high Arctic, thriving in the 24-hour daylight despite low temperatures, little water, strong winds, and little or no soil. Growing low to the ground, tiny blossoms can be found scattered on otherwise bare ground or growing in dense mats. They bloom almost as soon as the snow begins to melt and continue through the short summer.

In 1947 and 1954 botanist and photographer Rutherford Platt sailed north aboard the Schooner Bowdoin to study these remarkable plants. Platt specialized in macrophotography and somehow managed to find space aboard the ship for his specialized lighting and camera setup. With it, he took a series of remarkable close-up photographs to highlight the wonders of these remarkable tiny flowers and illustrate their specialized adaptations.

Rutherford Platt, Arctic Rose, Dryas integrifolia, Seed Head, August 14, 1947, Thule, Greenland. 35mm Kodachrome transparency. Gift of Alexander D. Platt, ‘66, Rutherford Platt, Jr., and Susan Platt.
Rutherford Platt, Bog Rosemary, Andromeda polifolia, 1947, Hawke’s Harbour, Labrador. 35mm Kodachrome transparency. Gift of Alexander D. Platt, ‘66, Rutherford Platt, Jr., and Susan Platt.

Ralph Hubbard, Rud and closeup setup (camera), Aboard the Bowdoin, 1947. Gift of Mrs. Nora Hubbard.
Rutherford Platt, Roseroot Rhodiola rosea, July 1, 1947, Antilles Cove, Labrador. 35mm Kodachrome transparency. Gift of Alexander D. Platt, ‘66, Rutherford Platt, Jr., and Susan Platt.