Bradford’s “Mark Twain” Scrapbook

Post submitted by Russell Potter, a contributor to the development of the Arctic Visions exhibition and this microsite. He teaches at Rhode Island College, where he is editor of the Arctic Book Review. His books include Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875 (2007), and most recently a novel, Pyg: The Memoirs of a Learned Pig (2011).  The distinctive scrapbook employed… Continue reading Bradford’s “Mark Twain” Scrapbook

Kane’s Mysterious Waters: Transient Polynyas

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY Led by Elisha Kent Kane, M.D., the Second Grinnell Expedition (1853-1855) continued on-going searches for the missing Franklin Expedition. According to Kane’s writings in Arctic Explorations, his approach was to take a course that should “lead most directly to the open sea of which he had inferred the existence” and to… Continue reading Kane’s Mysterious Waters: Transient Polynyas

Understanding by Degrees: The Open Polar Sea (Part 3 of 3)

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY During the 19th century, some scientists and explorers believed (or wanted to confirm) that an Open Polar Sea existed north of Ellesmere Island and Greenland, presumably as an ice-free area of navigable water in the region of the Lincoln Sea. Much like the search for the Northwest Passage, this legendary open… Continue reading Understanding by Degrees: The Open Polar Sea (Part 3 of 3)

Understanding by Degrees: Determining Longitude (Part 2 of 3)

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY In the previous post, I outlined the basic concepts for obtaining latitude by sextant sightings at local solar noon, and illustrated how masters and astronomers on 19th century Arctic-exploring ships determined their northern position whether on the open ocean or trekking across glaciers on foot or by dog sledge. When navigating… Continue reading Understanding by Degrees: Determining Longitude (Part 2 of 3)

Understanding By Degrees: Determining Latitude (Part 1 of 3)

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY Arctic explorers in the 19th century routinely used a sextant for celestial navigation to determine their location at sea and when trekking across glaciers and other terrain on foot or by dog sledge. This first of three posts discusses basic principles of obtaining solar-noon latitude by sextant and the inherent errors… Continue reading Understanding By Degrees: Determining Latitude (Part 1 of 3)

Silenced in Arctic Eternity

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY Scattered rocks amongst a weather-worn Headstone marked August Sonntag’s humble Gravesite. On a desolate moraine, Donald MacMillan bore witness to the isolated tomb, In stark solemnity, a single photograph taken In broad Arctic sunlight. Fifty years after Sonntag’s death, MacMillan Recollected tragic events that demoralizing Hayes to grieving silence. Icy water… Continue reading Silenced in Arctic Eternity

Old Dartmouth Lyceum Lecture Series at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Thursdays, September 19th, October 3rd & 24th, November 14th This year the Old Dartmouth Lyceum lecture series will focus around the exhibit Arctic Visions: “Away then Floats the Ice-Island”. September 19th Russell Potter Frozen Zones: Bradford, Arctic Photography and nineteenth-century Visual Culture Mr. Potter teaches English and Media Studies at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. His work… Continue reading Old Dartmouth Lyceum Lecture Series at the New Bedford Whaling Museum