Final Freeze: A Study Break at the Arctic Museum

Yesterday was the first gorgeous day outside in Maine that we’ve really had all year. So after a little bit of time outside on Bowdoin’s quad, I did the most logical thing and learned about the arctic.

IMG_2408The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum is named after two Bowdoin alumni who were some of the first explorers to the arctic. While they were there, one of them actually shot a polar bear, had it stuffed, and donated it to the College (that polar bear is actually found outside the gym and is not the one pictured to the left). To honor the arctic tradition of these alumni, Bowdoin founded this museum to encourage people to learn about both the wildlife of the arctic but also things like culture and art of the people who live in places like Labrador and Greenland.

Although my visit yesterday was short as I went in their last few minutes open, I’ve learned some interesting things in past visits. Glancing through the informational placards around the museum, it’s clear that there’s also a focus on the environment and ecology of the arctic.

IMG_2407One thing I found today that I thought was quite interesting was a gutskin jacket. This waterproof jacket was made out of the intestines of seals and walruses and shows how different parts of animals can be used in creative ways.

The museum also exhibits a fair amount of art, some of which rotates through their temporary exhibits. This art showcases different styles from cultures based in the arctic areas, and many of the pieces depict animals found there, like polar bears and caribou. I didn’t have much time to read about them, but the figurines are pretty cool, and there’s currently an exhibit composed of donations from Marcia and Robert Ellis called Cape Dorset and Beyond, which showcases some good Inuit art.

A sample of some of the art in the museum
A sample of some of the art in the museum

I definitely recommend this museum to visitors. In addition to the things I already mentioned, there’s some additional information and artifacts in the foyer of Hubbard Hall in which the museum is located. The museum does a good job of making your visit interactive as well, with screens you can listen to for more information, and even a narwhal tusk which they invite you to touch. 9/10!

The museum is free of charge and open to the public. They’re open from 10 AM-5 PM Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2-5 PM on Sundays.

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