Names Swallowed by the Cold: Hidden Histories of Arctic Exploration
25 January—8 April 2013
Curated by Adam Doskey
This two-part exhibition of unique materials about Arctic exploration commemorated the centenary of the Crocker Land Expedition, an Arctic expedition co-sponsored by the University of Illinois that included young University of Illinois graduates W. Elmer Ekblaw and Maurice Tanquary.
The exhibition featured manuscript materials from Arctic expeditions of Sir William Edward Parry, Sir John Franklin, and Sir John Richardson, as well as many association copies of works by important explorers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The exhibit items were drawn from the newly-reorganized Arctic collections in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which include the Palmer-Parry Collection, the Sir John Richardson Collection, the Schwatka Arctic Library, and the Mercanton Polar Library. A companion exhibition in the Library's first floor North-South Hallway during the month of February 2013 highlighted the European exploration of the Arctic and also the Crocker Land Expedition.
The opening reception on 25 January at 3 p.m. in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library featured a lecture, "The Icemen Cometh: Forgotten Pioneers of British Arctic Exploration," by Gillen Wood, Professor of English Literature at the University of Illinois. The lecture detailed the contributions made by Bernard O’Reilly and William Scoresby Jr. to the British search for the Northwest Passage in the early nineteenth century. This flury of Arctic exploration was tied to the volcanic explosion of Indonesian Mount Tambora in 1815, that led to the sudden and widespread melting of Arctic ice.
On 7 February at 3 p.m., the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will celebrated Charles Dickens’s birthday with a staged reading of Wilkie Collins’s play, The Frozen Deep. This play was based on Sir John Franklin’s expedition to discover the Northwest Passage and was written by Collins in collaboration with Charles Dickens. Both authors acted in the original performances. Thomas Mitchell, Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois, directed a cast of actors from the Theatre Department.
Exhibition curator Adam Doskey gave a guided tour of the exhibition at the February No. 44 Society meeting, on 13 February at 3 p.m., entitled: "Explorers, Scientists, and Readers: The Arctic Collections at the University of Illinois".
The closing lecture by Dr. Dag Avango of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) at Stockholm was held on Monday, 8 April at 3pm. Dr. Avango studies the history of technology in the polar regions and has written about industrial archaeology on Svalbard and South Georgia Island.