Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum
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Exhibits
Past Exhibits:

2014

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October 01, 2013 - March 04, 2014
In the summer of 1913, Donald B. MacMillan set sail for the far north, leading a major expedition to conduct scientific research and find "Crocker Land," a distant landmass that Robert E. Peary had sighted to the northwest of the known Arctic Islands. All did not go smoothly, however. Find out what went wrong and what went right for MacMillan and his companions through the first months of what was supposed to be a two-year expedition.
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April 11, 2013 - February 23, 2014
Caribou antlers are a source of inspiration for Inuit artists across the Canadian Arctic. Working within the constraints of antler's forms, they create a variety of fanciful creatures, exuberant dancers, and ethereal figures.
2013

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November 12, 2013 - November 12, 2013
Your Favorite Things, on display for two hours only
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May 29, 2013 - July 14, 2013
In the spring of 1892. Robert E. Peary and Evind Astrup set out to cross the great Greenland ice cap, to become the first Euro-Americans to visit the northernmost coast of Greenland, now known as Peary Land. This is northernmost land on the planet and few people have had the privilege of visiting it. This exhibit features Peary's first photographs of this stark and beautiful landscape, as well as more recent views.
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September 15, 2012 - May 26, 2013
Bill Hess, a photographer based in Alaska, has documented the lives of Alaska's Native communities for years. The exhibition features activities of contemporary Alaskan hunters originally featured in Uiñiq, a magazine featuring people and events in the North Slope Bureau, produced by Hess. Sponsored by the Oak Foundation and the Russell and Janet Doubleday Endowment Fund.
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February 14, 2012 - February 24, 2013
This exhibition of Rabbi Harry Sky's donated collection of Inuit transformation carvings focuses on the parallels Rabbi Sky sees between his own teachings – that people are constantly changing and transforming themselves as they live their lives – and Inuit carving of human/animal transformations.
2011

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November 18, 2010 - December 04, 2011
This exhibition included 86 works carefully selected from a much larger collection donated to the museum by Robert and Judith Toll in 2009. The prints and carvings were made in the past fifty years by artists living in communities across the Canadian Arctic.
2010

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April 18, 2008 - September 06, 2010
To mark the centennial of Robert E. Peary's last expedition in 1908-09, the Arctic Museum mounted a major exhibit that explored Peary's long career in the arctic, with an emphasis on his final attempt to reach the north Pole.
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April 01, 2010 - August 01, 2010
On September 1, 1909, Dr. Frederick A. Cook sent a telegram from Lerwick, Shetland, announcing that he had reached the North Pole in April 1908. One week later, on September 7, Robert E. Peary sent a similar telegram from Indian Harbour, Labrador, announcing that he had been the first to reach the North Pole in April 1909, and that Cook was a liar. These events set off a media frenzy and provided a rich source of material for editorial cartoonists across North America and in Europe. Here we present a series of cartoons from the fall of 1909, illustrating the pointed humor cartoonists brought to the debate.
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November 01, 2009 - March 01, 2010
On September 1, 1909, Dr. Frederick A. Cook sent a telegram from Lerwick, Shetland, announcing that he had reached the North Pole in April 1908. One week later, on September 7, Robert E. Peary sent a similar telegram from Indian Harbour, Labrador, announcing that he had been the first to reach the North Pole in April 1909, and that Cook was a liar. These events set off a media frenzy and provided a rich source of material for editorial cartoonists across North America and in Europe. Here we present a series of cartoons from the fall of 1909, illustrating the pointed humor cartoonists brought to the debate.
2009

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December 01, 2008 - March 01, 2009
George A. Wardwell of Bucksport, Maine was chief engineer of the SS <em>Roosevelt</em> on Robert E. Peary’s 1905-06 and 1908-09 North Pole expeditions. These expeditions are well known as Peary, and many of the men who accompanied him on his long sledging journeys, published accounts of their experiences. Much less is known of the experiences of men like Wardwell, who spent the winter aboard the Roosevelt as it sat frozen in place for the winter, serving as a base camp. Wardwell, however, kept journals of his time aboard the Roosevelt. The journals, along with his photographs, have recently been made available by his family, allowing us to gain a new perspective on these historic expeditions.
2008

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May 01, 2008 - November 01, 2008
Just over a century ago, the steamship Roosevelt made two landmark Arctic voyages. Robert Peary's North Pole expeditions of 1905-1906 and 1908-1909 relied completely on this "little black ship, solid, sturdy, compact, strong and resistant," as Peary described her.
2007

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October 01, 2005 - December 01, 2007
Living in Northwest Greenland was a major exhibit centered on life in the most northerly community in the world, drawing upon on the Arctic Museum's rich collection of objects, photographs and films.
2005

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June 01, 2005 - September 01, 2005
Northern people have a long tradition of fashioning practical objects for everyday use and for trade, and more recently for sale. These objects are often skillfully made and elaborately decorated, in traditional or innovative styles. This exhibit looks at a selection of crafts that incorporate the essential everyday skills that men and women alike must master in order to survive in the Arctic.
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October 29, 2003 - August 28, 2005
Treasures and Trinkets: Collecting Culture in the North examines the way northern craftspeople responded to the increasing demand for trade items from travelers.
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May 01, 2005 - May 31, 2005
Wilfred Grenfell went to work in northern Newfoundland and Labrador as a medical doctor, but he envisioned his mission much more broadly. He knew that to help people in the remote communities he served he had to address not only their physical health, but also their spiritual, social, and economic circumstances. Undaunted by the task he had set for himself, he created a network of medical stations, schools, and a craft organization. He received many honors for this work, including a knighthood in 1927.
2004

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June 01, 2004 - December 01, 2004
In 1932, Robert A. Bartlett and Marie Ahnighito Peary Stafford, Robert E. Peary’s daughter, joined forces to mount an expedition to Cape York, Greenland to construct a memorial to Peary. As always on Bartlett’s expeditions, photographers documented many aspects of this remarkable work. The following images trace the expedition from its June departure from New York, to the final dedication of the monument in August, 1932. The captions are extracts from accounts of the expedition left by Bartlett, captain of the expedition vessel Effie M. Morrissey and leader of the expedition, Marie Peary Stafford, who was returning to the place of her birth, and Jack Angel, assistant engineer and sometime photographer.
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February 01, 2004 - June 01, 2004
Postcards have been popular with travelers and collectors since the late nineteenth century. This popularity made postcards an ideal medium for promotion, whether it be a town selling itself as a destination for tourists, or a manufacturer advertising new products. Among the postcards in The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum collection are many that drew on the allure of the Arctic and northern exploration to appeal to consumers. The generosity of the Friends of Bowdoin College has made this exhibition possible.
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October 07, 2003 - February 10, 2004
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum houses a remarkable collection of photographs dating from the earliest days of photography in the Arctic through contemporary times. From this collection, guest curator Aimée Douglas ’05 has selected images that document important aspects of the history of photography in the Arctic. Douglas examines the challenges faced by photographers in the difficult conditions of the north, and the ways photographers used both standard and innovative techniques to bring views of the Arctic to southern audiences. This exhibit is supported by the Friends of Bowdoin College.
2003

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June 01, 2003 - October 01, 2003
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.
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January 01, 2003 - June 01, 2003
Greenland was strategically important to the Allies in WWII for a number of reasons. First, a mine at Ivigtut was the only known source of cryolite, a vital catalyst for aluminum production. Second, Greenland was ideally located as a refueling stop for planes flying from North America to Europe in the days before non-stop trans-Atlantic flights. Finally, meteorologists had shown that by monitoring Greenland weather they could more accurately forecast weather for Western Europe. When Denmark, the colonial power in Greenland, fell to the Nazis in the spring of 1940, Britain, Canada, and the United States began working out how to defend Greenland. The generous support of the Friends of Bowdoin College has made this exhibit possible.
2002

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July 25, 2002 - September 29, 2002
Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) live in the cold waters of the northern seas. In the late 1400s Europeans exploring Newfoundland and Labrador noted that large numbers of cod frequented coastal waters, were easy to catch, and wonderful to eat. In the late 1500s hundreds of Basque vessels participated in the cod fishery. By the 1700s dried and salted cod was a staple food throughout Europe, the American colonies, and the Mediterranean.
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November 09, 2001 - August 31, 2002
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.
2001

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July 01, 2001 - September 01, 2001
In 1913, Donald B. MacMillan began an expedition looking for Crocker Land, first sighted by Robert Peary in 1906 in an unexplored Arctic region. Expedition members planned to spend two years studying this region, under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History. Ice conditions prevented evacuation until the summer of 1917. By then MacMillan had shown that Crocker Land was nothing more than a mirage, and the expedition had collected many natural history specimens and scientific records. MacMillan himself took over 5000 photographs.
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March 13, 2001 - July 15, 2001
Explorers and expedition leaders such as Donald B. MacMillan and Robert A. Bartlett began using motion picture film early in the twentieth century. By the 1920s film footage from the North was common and very popular in newsreels and in public lectures given across the country. Such films gave American audiences their first good look at life in the Arctic.
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November 30, 2000 - March 11, 2001
Them Days, a magazine of Labrador history, has been published continuously since 1975, in the process becoming an important archive for oral, written and photographic records of Labrador. In the early 1980s, The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum provided copies of many of MacMillan’s photographs of Labrador to the magazine to be included with articles. In this exhibit we present a selection of these photographs, along with quotes from the articles they accompanied in the magazine. True to the rich history of Labrador, these include stories from Inuit, Innu and Settler families, as well as visiting scientists and missionaries. The generous support of the Friends of Bowdoin College has made this exhibit possible.
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November 01, 1999 - February 01, 2001
Explorers and expedition leaders such as Donald B. MacMillan and Robert A. Bartlett began using motion picture film early in the twentieth century. By the 1920s film footage from the North was common and very popular in newsreels and in public lectures given across the country. Such films gave American audiences their first good look at life in the Arctic.
2000

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July 25, 2000 - November 05, 2000
Sailing ships have braved the difficult waters of the Arctic for centuries, but few have been so successful, or returned so frequently, as the &lt;em&gt;Bowdoin&lt;/em&gt; and the &lt;em&gt;Effie M. Morrissey&lt;/em&gt;. Thanks to their skilled captains, Donald B. MacMillan and Robert A. Bartlett, these ships repeatedly navigated uncharted waters from Labrador’s dangerous coast to the ice choked bays of Greenland and Baffin Island. They carried scientists researching the wonders of the Arctic, and supplies and medical aid to remote communities. Now celebrated as National Historic Landmarks, both ships are fondly remembered in the many northern communities they returned to year after year.
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April 01, 2000 - July 23, 2000
Inuit and Europeans have been interacting in Labrador for centuries. Europeans began seasonal whaling, fishing and trading with Inuit along the coast in the sixteenth century.
1999

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October 17, 1998 - August 01, 1999
Facing the Future showcases caribou hide and whalebone masks made by the North Alaskan Inuit group, the Iñupiat. These masks exist at the intersection of traditional and modern Iñupiat culture. They are made exclusively for sale, as “tourist art” but are firmly rooted in traditional Iñupiat culture. They evoke historic and pre-historic traditions in the way they are made, in the materials used to make them, in the expressive faces they portray, and in the symbolic meaning they convey. At the same time, they represent one of the ways the Iñupiat are adapting to the changes brought to them by southerners over the last hundred years.
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January 20, 1999 - May 16, 1999
The photographs in this exhibit come from albums owned by John Bartlett, captain of the vessels &lt;em&gt;Kite&lt;/em&gt; and &lt;em&gt;Hope&lt;/em&gt;. Bartlett sailed the Kite to Northwest Greenland in 1895 to bring Robert E. Peary home from the North, where he had been for two years. Peary chose him as captain of the Hope, which he chartered for summer voyages in 1896 and 1897, when he tried to transport large meteorites from Cape York, Greenland to New York. These photographs, taken by an unidentified photographer, document the final years of the 19th Century, as the Inuit of Northwest Greenland were becoming increasingly linked to the wider world.
1998

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June 02, 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.