Story posted January 26, 2006
When many people think of the top of the world they envision a vast, silent, empty place. But, with the help of an Apple iPod, visitors to The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum will discover that the Arctic is livelier than they may have realized.
For the first time, Museum visitors will be able to listen to Arctic winds howl, Greenlandic dog teams yelp, and northern people speak, sing, and play sealskin drums. These sounds are all part of the Museum's first iPod audio tour, which guides visitors through its newest exhibit, This Extraordinary Paradise: Living in Northwest Greenland.
The exhibit, which opened in October 2005, focuses on the Inughuit people of Northwest Greenland. It highlights handcrafted jewelry, ivory carvings, bone tools, toys, and traditional fur clothing from the region. It also features photographs and film footage taken by explorer and Bowdoin graduate Donald B. MacMillan (Class of 1898) in the first half of the twentieth century.
The 35-minute audio tour takes visitors on a guided trip though Inughuit history, technology, art, and culture. It features interpretive commentary from Museum Director Susan Kaplan and Curator Genevieve LeMoine, vintage recordings of traditional Inughuit drum songs, and journal excerpts from Arctic explorers.
To listen to the tour, visitors can borrow iPods and headphone sets at the Museum reception desk, free of charge.
The tour is also available as an enhanced podcast on the Museum Web site, the Podcasts at Bowdoin site, or in the iTunes Music Store. Each section of the tour is accompanied by a photograph, so people who are unable to visit the Museum in person can still get a visual sense of the exhibit. Anyone with a personal computer and an Internet connection can take a virtual tour of the gallery from the comfort of home, or download the tour to a personal iPod and bring it to the Museum on the Bowdoin College campus. (An iPod is not necessary, although iTunes is required to download the podcast. Download iTunes onto your Mac or PC for free at www.apple.com/itunes/.)
The audio tour was written and arranged by Curatorial Intern Emma Bonanomi, Class of 2005. Her work was funded by a John Gibbons Fellowship and a John Gibbons Internship. The tour is narrated by Gardiner Holland, Class of 2006. The voice of Captain Ross is played by Ryan North, Class of 2005, and the voice of Miriam MacMillan is played by Elizabeth Moe, Class of 2006.
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum is located in Hubbard Hall, on the Bowdoin College campus, in Brunswick, Maine. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and national holidays. For more information, call 207-725-3416.