For today, a great soapstone carving of a bear. The artist, Eegewudloo Putapoo, has managed to carve so much expression into this piece!
Robert Peary was one of the most accomplished explorers of his lifetime, making eight trips total to the Arctic. What better way for our museum to continue his legacy than to make sure his doll counterpart plants his flag all over other parts of the globe?
For the past few years, we’ve been having visitors take their Peary dolls on their travels, snap a photo, and send it back to us so we can put it on the website. Here are some of my favorite snapshots…Peary’s covered a lot of ground with this little project!
Here at the Museum, we have so many great objects that sometimes I get lost in the Collections Room! To help me find the gems in our collection, I’ll be polling each of the staff on what their favorite object is and featuring it here.
This Greenlandic necklace was chosen by Genevieve LeMoine, our curator. It’s carved entirely from one piece of walrus ivory - quite a feat considering those tiny links - by a man named Qavigaq.
This piece was originally accessioned to the Museum without an artist’s name attached to it. As luck would have it, Qavigaq’s daughters came to the Museum a few years ago to help our curators work on a collection, and identified this necklace as their father’s work - they claimed that the carving technique was a family secret!
Writing condition reports proved a challenge for some artifacts; for instance, how does one describe a box of rocks? (We went with “rocky!”)
Walrus tusks generally reach about an average of 14 or 15 inches long - still a pretty hefty size. However, males’ tusks can reach up to 40 inches, especially in Pacific walruses, which are generally larger than their Atlantic counterparts.
Alex and I came face-to-face with the Museum’s biggest tusk, from a Pacific walrus, up in our collections room the other day…that thing means business.
Another update on our awesome student interns!
It’s been a busy week for Alex and Meg. After photographing each page of Ekblaw’s journals, they have now been assigned the task of reading each book (as well as Ekblaw’s extensive correspondence from the collection) and taking notes on the content and anything out of the ordinary. Ekblaw kept a lot of notes, from scientific observations to Inuktitut glossaries to his personal daily diary. With over 30 100-year-old journals to read through and hundreds of letters, this is a lot of interesting archival work for their summer!
For any readers who have been following our Crocker Land expedition posts, I thought I’d post a photo of the main players of the expedition! Interns Alex and Meg have been working exclusively with Crocker Land material, mostly collected from W. Elmer Ekblaw.
We feel like we know these guys pretty well, despite all of them being dead before we were born, and Alex and I had an extensive gossip session this morning in my office about this crew. Museum employees are nerds.
This photo was taken before the expedition left in 1913, probably in Brooklyn Harbor. Bottom row, L to R:
- Harrison J. Hunt, the expedition’s surgeon. A 1902 Bowdoin grad (he also graduated from Bowdoin’s then-existant Medical College in 1905).
- Maurice Tanqueray, zoologist.
- W. Elmer Ekblaw, the interns’ favorite! He was the botanist, geologist, ornithologist, and pretty much the most responsible and competent scientist on the expedition. Kept a lot of great notes and journals that we’ve been reading.
- Navy Ensign Fitzhugh Green, looking quite sulky here, was the engineer.
- Jerome Allen, charged with setting up a wireless connection from Borup Lodge. Luck was pretty much against Allen for four years - he was never able to set up the connection. (Poor man.) He was also the expedition’s electrician.
Top row, L to R:
- Henry F. Osborn, president of the American Museum of Natural History, which sponsored the expedition. (He didn’t actually go on the trip, but posed for the photo.)
- Edmund O. Hovey, chairman of the expedition committee and curator of geology at the AMNH. Hovey did not depart with the team in 1913, but sailed up on the relief ship that tried to fetch them in 1915…and got stranded there himself.
- And our Museum namesake, Bowdoin 1898 grad, and the expedition’s leader, Donald MacMillan! (Wearing a very nice hat.)
Of course, there were many others involved with the expedition, including many Inuit drivers and guides. Our curator has posted a much longer description of the key players on her blog, which you can read here.
It’s official: the shipment of stuffed baby Arctic animals we got for the Museum shop today are the cutest things on the planet. Seriously. They’re so adorable that we front desk/front office staff are going crazy.
One of the countless perks of working at a museum: getting to play with/shop for all sorts of cool Arctic-themed toys! Acting like a kid at your job rocks. We have a small online shop for long-distance fans, which includes our famous, world-travelling Peary doll.