Published April 26, 2020

Explore Arctic Collections from Home

Let’s face it, most of us would prefer to experience the Arctic Museum’s spectacular collections up close and personal. But sometimes, for all sorts of reasons (who’d have thought a global pandemic would be one of them?) that’s just not possible. So, in the meantime, take a look at what we’ve been adding to our online database.

Online databases are important platforms through which museums make collections accessible to wide audiences. They are invaluable tools for scholars to pinpoint objects, photographs, or documents they’d like to focus in on for further research. They also make possible large-scale data aggregations and comparisons across various holding institutions. And we hope that as internet availability improves across the Arctic, northern communities will have more opportunities to engage with the collections. That’s why getting the collections online has always been a goal of the Arctic Museum.
Arctic flower
Online Collections

“Like it has for everyone, the Covid-19 pandemic very suddenly shifted the Arctic Museum’s capabilities, priorities, and strategies for the immediate future. One project involves getting as many of our collections online as we can as quickly as we can,” explains the museum’s assistant curator Mike Quigley. “It’s something we’ve been nibbling away at for a long time. Now we’re going full steam ahead.” 

Adding object records to the online version of the museum’s database is a labor-intensive project which involves re-sizing and formatting digital images and confirming the accuracy of large quantities of data.  But luckily, it is something that museum staff can work on from the safety of home. Over the past month, the museum has added approximately 5,000 records, more than doubling what was previously available online.

Some of the newly accessible collections include nearly 400 of Rutherford Platt’s gorgeous botanical 35mm Kodachrome transparencies from the 1940s and 50s, Harold Grundy’s collection of nearly 200 photographs documenting Thule Air Force Base in northwest Greenland during the height of the Cold War, a photo album comprised of 42 images commemorating the 1934 British Trans Greenland Expedition, some 3,000 images from Donald MacMillan’s core collection of photographic negatives spanning the early-to-mid-twentieth century, and the objects and images used in Arctic Museum exhibitions mounted over the past 20 years.

View these collections and others in pre-sorted categories under the “Browse” tab.  Or search all available records in a variety of ways by using the “Search” function. And check back regularly, as we have been adding new material almost every day. Keep an eye out for additional ethnographic items and Inuit art in particular.