Campus News

Arctic Museum Highlights Early Arctic Films in New Exhibit Opening March 13

Story posted March 08, 2001

In this age of television and the Internet, it is easy to forget the importance of public lectures and the films that often accompanied them during the first half of the twentieth century. The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum will revisit the heyday of popular lectures and the early days of film with the new exhibit “Northern Cinema: Early Film of the Far North,” opening March 13 in the foyer of Hubbard Hall.

Arctic explorers such as Donald B. MacMillan and Robert A. Bartlett were highly sought-after speakers from the 1920s onward. They toured the country speaking to such groups as the Explorers Club and the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen. Both men illustrated their talks with some of the earliest films made in the far north.

American audiences were delighted with everything from the first motion picture film of musk ox, taken by MacMillan in 1924, to views of the construction of the Peary Monument at Cape York in Northwest Greenland by Robert A. Bartlett and Marie Peary Stafford. MacMillan even carried his films back to the Arctic with him, so that people in Labrador and Greenland could see themselves on film, often for the first time.

Through photographs, posters, announcements, and programs, “Northern Cinema” documents the process of making films in the Arctic, from the challenges of filming wildlife to showing the final product in the United States and abroad.
This exhibit is presented in conjunction with “Northern Lights, Camera, Action! A Festival of Early Arctic Film,” to be held on the Bowdoin College campus April 7.

“Northern Cinema: Early Films in the Far North” will run from March 13 through July 15 in the foyer of Hubbard Hall. Foyer exhibits can be viewed whenever Hubbard Hall is open: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 2-5 p.m.

Other exhibits can be viewed during Museum hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 2-5 p.m., and closed Mondays and national holidays. Admission to The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum is free. For more information, call 725-3416.

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