At Home in the North

Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum & Arctic Studies Center Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum & Arctic Studies Center



Arctic Museum main galleries
From the sledge that carried Peary to the North Pole in 1909 to a SmartBUOY that tells contemporary Inuit travelers if the sea ice is safe, this exhibit examines life in the Arctic historically and today.

Arctic vistas are simultaneously beautiful and daunting to southern eyes. But look closely, as Robert E. Peary did, and you will see a welcoming home where Inuit families have thrived for generations. Inuit continue to raise their families in the Arctic today, while navigating the dual threats of colonialism and global warming.

Selected Works

Family of Eight, Tim Pitsiulak, Cape Dorset, 2008. Lithograph, ink on paper. Museum purchase.

Sedna, Oviloo Tunnillie, 1999, stone. The Marcia and Robert Ellis Collection.
Ulu, Unidentified Inughuit Artist. 20th Century Ivory and steel. Gift of Donald and Miriam MacMillan.
Eider Nest and Three Eggs, 1924, hand-colored silver gelatin, pigment, photo by Donald Baxter MacMillan.
10' Alaskan Polar Bear.
10' Alaskan Polar Bear. Museum purchase.


When Peary set his sights on reaching the North Pole, he recognized that success required learning from and working with Inuit, the true experts in Arctic survival. Donald B. MacMillan followed Peary’s example and spent years documenting Inuit communities.

Over generations Inuit developed sophisticated technologies to hunt in icy Arctic waters and on the vast tundra. They skillfully crafted clothing to keep warm and dry, boats and sledges to hunt and travel, and comfortable homes for every season.

Now, facing rapid changes on multiple fronts, Inuit fight, in the words of Inuk leader Sila Watt Cloutier, for “the right to be cold.”