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

Dr. Hayes as Logistical Planner and Fund Raiser

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY Dr. Hayes in his first book, An Arctic Boat Journey, demonstrated his abilities at gaining both scientific and financial support for his second Arctic expedition, search for the legendary Open Polar Sea.  Of note, Chapter 34 “Concluding Remarks” and the following “Appendix” illustrate Hayes’ ambitious plan to return to the shores… Continue reading Dr. Hayes as Logistical Planner and Fund Raiser

“The Motliest-Looking Crowd That It Was Ever My Fortune To Encounter”: Photographs of Native North Americans in The Arctic Regions

Submitted by guest blogger, George Schwartz. He is a doctoral candidate in American & New England Studies at Boston University. For twelve years he was as an Assistant Curator in the Maritime Art and History and Exhibitions and Research departments at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where he contributed to a pair of Polar… Continue reading “The Motliest-Looking Crowd That It Was Ever My Fortune To Encounter”: Photographs of Native North Americans in The Arctic Regions

Pressing On or Turning Back, Second Grinnell Expedition (Part 2 of 2)

POSTED BY FRAN HENNESSEY As Dr. Elisha Kent Kane led the Second Grinnell Expedition in its search for the missing Franklin crew, he demonstrated a combination of pressing on and turning back — and equally important, the adoption of some Inuit methods to survive harsh northern Greenland winters.  His expedition became one of the most… Continue reading Pressing On or Turning Back, Second Grinnell Expedition (Part 2 of 2)