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Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum

Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum
Established 1985

Bowdoin College

9500 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Type Arctic Studies
Director Susan A. Kaplan
Website [1]

The Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum is a museum located in Hubbard Hall at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Named after Arctic explorers and Bowdoin College graduates Robert E. Peary (Class of 1877) and Donald B. MacMillan (Class of 1898), it is one of two museums in the United States dedicated completely to Arctic Studies.


Bowdoin College’s historic relationship with the Arctic dates back to 1860, when a group of Bowdoin students accompanied one professor on a research trip to Labrador and West Greenland. Peary and MacMillan made many trips to the Arctic, together and separately. Bowdoin students also accompanied MacMillan on several expeditions in the early-to-mid-20th century. To this day, professors and students of the college continue to travel to the Arctic to pursue research.

The Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum was made possible by generous donations from the Class of 1925, George B. Knox (Class of 1929), and other alumni and friends. The Museum was dedicated in 1967, and MacMillan attended the opening that same year.

Established in 1985, the Arctic Studies Center links the resources of the museum and the library with teaching and research efforts, and hosts lectures, workshops, and educational outreach projects. "Through course offerings, field research programs, employment opportunities, and special events, the Arctic Studies Center promotes anthropological, archaeological, geological, and environmental investigations of the North."[2]


The Arctic Museum's exhibitions focus on different aspects of the Arctic, ranging from natural life, such as plants and animals, to cultural life of people native to the Arctic region. Artifacts in the Museum's collection include Peary and MacMillan's expedition equipment, anthropologic objects, Inuit art, films, archival papers, publications, and natural history specimens. The Museum's exhibitions now change approximately every two years to show as much of the collection as possible.

The exhibition 'Imagination Takes Shape' will be on display through December 2011. The exhibition is a collection of Canadian Inuit sculpture and prints from the Robert and Judith Toll Collection.

Academic program

Bowdoin College's Departments of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geology offer a concentration in Arctic Studies. These departments, together with the Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum, provide students with opportunities to explore cultural, social, and environmental issues involving Arctic lands and peoples. The Director of the Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum & Arctic Studies Center is Susan A. Kaplan, Associate Professor of Anthropology.


The Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Sundays from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The Museum is closed on Mondays and on national holidays. Admission is free, and donations are accepted. School and group tours may be arranged.

Collection highlights

File:Arctic sledge.jpg
Admiral Robert Peary's North Pole Expedition sledge
Hand-carved, ivory polar bear statue
Mask with tea-stained caribou skin and animal fur

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center Educational Resources and Facilities, The College Catalogue, 2011, p. 288.

External links

Coordinates: 43°54′27″N 69°57′48″W / 43.9075°N 69.96325°W / 43.9075; -69.96325{{#coordinates:43.9075|-69.96325 |type:landmark_region:US-ME |||||| |primary |name= }}