Peary Centennial, Exhibitions Featured in Maine Sunday Telegram

Story posted March 16, 2009

Robert E. Peary's historic North Pole expedition and two exhibitions that celebrate it are the focus of a front page Audience section spread in the March 15, 2009, edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

The article, "Return to the Arctic," highlights the artifacts on display in the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum's ongoing exhibition Northward Over the Great Ice: Robert E. Peary and the Quest for the North Pole, and the Portland Museum of Art's exhibition "The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration in American Culture."

Read the Maine Sunday Telegram article.

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Known as the Hubbard Sledge, this is one of five sledges used by Peary's North Pole party. Designed by Peary, made by Henson, it was given to Thomas Hubbard (Class of 1857), one of Peary's major financial supporters, and is on display.

Northward Over the Great Ice brings together nearly 300 rare objects and photographs, many never before publicly exhibited, including a a rarely displayed page from Peary's journal with the words, "The Pole at last!!!"

Read more about the exhibition here.

The Coldest Crucible focuses on Arctic exploration and is accompanied by Polar Dispatches, an installation of 19 contemporary art pieces that explore polar geography in sound, image and written word.

Susan Kaplan, director of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, says in the article that the exhibitions provide audiences with an opportunity to learn about the Arctic as part of the 100-year celebration of Peary's arrival.

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Josephine and Marie Peary holding the flag that Robert E. Peary flew at the North Pole. Josephine, Peary's wife, made him the flag in 1898, and he carried it with him when he went north. Peary cut pieces from the flag and deposited the cut fragments in cairns he erected every time he broke a "farthest north" record. The diagonal piece was left at the North Pole. The flag and some of its recovered pieces are on display.

"The Arctic once again is at the forefront of our news, just as it was many years ago," Kaplan says.

"Some of the issues are different, and certainly we know a lot more about the Arctic now than we did then. But there is still a sense of mystery and unknown."

Michael Robinson, assistant professor of history at the University of Hartford and curator of the The Coldest Crucible, says his interest in the Arctic began in the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum.

The article reports Robinson would ride his bike to Bowdoin in the summer to learn more about Peary and the North Pole.

And the H-L Exhibition Makes Three

Reaching for the Pole: An Exhibition Celebrating the Centennial of Peary's North Pole Expedition, currently on view on the second floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, shares another side of the accomplished Arctic explorer.

Read about the exhibition.


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