Story posted March 31, 2008
To celebrate the centennial of Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary's 1908-09 expedition to the North Pole, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center of Bowdoin College presents Northward Over the Great Ice: Robert E. Peary and the Quest for the North Pole, on view beginning April 18, 2008. One hundred years after Peary's quest, and at a time when the Arctic is now back in the international news, this exhibition reunites significant artifacts for the first time since the expedition.
Northward Over the Great Ice brings together nearly 300 rare artifacts and photographs. They are interpreted using archival voice recordings and film footage, as well as both published and unpublished accounts of the journey by members of Peary's team.
The exhibition tells the story of Peary's quest for the Pole from a broad perspective, and highlights the many individuals who made critical contributions to his endeavor. Reflecting a diversity remarkable for its time, Peary's North Pole Party included the African-American explorer Matthew Henson as well as Inughuit men, and his expedition received integral support from Inughuit women who made the fur clothing worn by the team, and his wife, Josephine.
In addition to highlighting their perspectives, Northward Over the Great Ice features objects such as the American flag made by Josephine that marked the team's attainment of the Pole; one of five custom-designed sledges used by the North Pole party; the bell from S.S. Roosevelt, the ship that transported the team to the Arctic; and the personal journal of George Wardwell, the Roosevelt's chief engineer.
The Arctic is once again the focus of global attention as a result of both increased access to the territory's exploitable resources and shipping lanes, and the region's role as a bellwether for the impact of global climate change.
Bowdoin College is one of the preeminent centers for Arctic studies, and is one of few institutions that combine Arctic, coastal, and environmental research with an ethnological and anthropological Arctic program. This cross-disciplinary approach to understanding and studying the Arctic is now more important than ever.
For more on the Museum and its hours, click here.
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