In the aurora-lit Arctic region of Hudson Bay, a large polar bear settles down to enjoy a ringed seal. His tireless search for food vividly symbolizes the struggle for survival in Manitoba’s barren northland. Further south, in the Sub-Arctic region, a herd of caribou, travelling a trail along a gravel ridge, re-enacts the autumn migration into the boreal forest. The traditional lifestyle of the hunting, gathering and fishing Caribou Inuit and Caribou-Eater Chipewyan was characterized by a seasonal dependency on migratory game.
THE FRANKLIN EXPLORATION
The story that has inspired folk songs and travel writing for over a century began in 1845 when British explorer Sir John Franklin set forth on a much-heralded Arctic expedition in pursuit of new scientific knowledge and hoping to find the Northwest Passage. Outfitted with two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and a crew of 134 men, the Franklin expedition was, at the time, the best-equipped mission to venture into the Arctic waters. But three years later, Franklin, his crew, and his two ships still hadn’t returned home, prompting countless search efforts and capturing international attention.
The world’s fascination with this maritime riddle has only grown since the historic discovery of HMS Erebus in 2014 and HMS Terror in 2016. Current archaeological excavation of the wreckage promises to expand our knowledge of the North, the ocean, and Franklin’s grisly fate.
The ROM’s interactive pop-up display, The Franklin Exploration, is your source for learning about this incredible story. The pop-up display puts the mysteries of Franklin’s tragic voyage into a historical context of science and exploration, looking at reasons behind the expedition and clues from early search efforts, and connects you to contemporary Arctic investigation, presenting the methodologies and findings of ongoing scientific research in Canada’s North.
Due to its great popularity at the Manitoba Museum this mini exhibition is now on permanent exhibition in the Arctic/Sub-Arctic Gallery.
Canadians can engage with the Franklin story thanks to the generosity of donors, including Lead Exhibit Patron, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation; the Government of Canada; Arctic Research Foundation; Isles Foundation Incorporated–The John E. Irving Family; The WB Family Foundation; and Andrew and Valerie Pringle. It is a testament to their vision that Canadians from coast to coast have the opportunity to learn about this important piece of history.