An example of this is the Halkett boat – a mid-19th century inflatable or collapsible boat intended for the use of travelers and explorers – in the HBC Collection.
A recent request came from Jeremy Ward, Curator of The Canadian Canoe Museum, Peterborough, ON. www.canoemuseum.ca He was interested in obtaining an image and information on this object for an upcoming exhibit on collapsible and folding watercraft. The information he provided, and my search into the records at The Manitoba Museum, produced some interesting results. First, it is one of two known Halkett Boats surviving worldwide. The other, in the Stromness Museum, in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, was associated with the Arctic explorer and surveyor Dr. John Rae – who was employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company. www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/STROMNESSMUSEUM/
Rae considered the boats very useful on his Arctic voyages in the 1840s, which included a search for the lost expedition of the famous Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.
Ironically, the Halkett Boat in the HBC Museum Collection was intended for Franklin, who in turn gave it to Sir George Simpson, the governor of North American operations for the HBC. It is possible that this boat has never been used, but has remained in its box in the corporate collection of the HBC until the HBC Museum Collection was donated to The Manitoba Museum.