Arctic 4

November 27, 2012 - May 20, 2013

Exploring tales and traditions from Canada's North

This winter, the Royal Alberta Museum celebrates Edmonton's northern connections with a series of new feature exhibitions.

Cold Recall
Echoes in the Ice
Irene Avaalaaqiaq

Inuujaq: Dolls of the Canadian Arctic

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 - APRIL 28, 2013

Celebrating the colourful tradition of doll making in a land of ice and snow

Opening November 27th and running until April 28th, 2013, INUUJAQ: Dolls of the Canadian Arctic explores the colourful tradition of Inuit doll-making. "Inuujaq" (In-oo-yak) in Inuktitut means "resembles a person". Some of the dolls in this exhibition have been modeled after real people. Others depict clothing or tools used by the doll makers, their parents or grandparents.

Parkas, pants, mittens and kamiks (boots) are cut, sewn and embellished in the same way as traditional garments. Made with great care and an eye for authentic detail, these dolls embody cherished cultural values and are often made from seal skin, caribou hide, muskrat fur, musk ox hair, sic sic (ground squirrel) fur, arctic hare fur, wolf, leather, stone, wood, antler and fabric. The clothing often reflects the clothing of the communities they are from. The heads of the dolls may be of leather, stone, fabric or wood.

The exhibition features 80 dolls from 19 Inuit communities. Although the Inuit have fashioned dolls for centuries, most of the dolls in this exhibition were never intended to be used as toys for children. They are part of a larger trade in souvenirs.

From the collection of the Royal Alberta Museum, the Tracy Collection, the Aarts Collection, the A.E. Anfindsen Collection, the Douglas & Struthers Collection, the Lakey Collection, the Lee Collection, the Manson Collection, the Newton Collection, the Dr. Nancy Wachowich Collection and one other anonymous donor.

Guest Curators: Bill and Michelle Tracy

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Cold Recall: Roald Amundsen's Reflections from the Northwest Passage

JANUARY 19 - APRIL 28, 2013

Roald Amundsen was among the first to winter in Antarctica. He was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage in one and the same ship. He was the first to reach the South Pole, a navigator of the Northeast Passage, and the first to fly to latitude 88°N. He was the first to fly across the Arctic Ocean.

Amundsen was born on 16 July 1872 on a small farm in south-eastern Norway, of a family of farmers and sailors. He was not an academic of nature, and from the age of 15 he had decided he would be a polar explorer. He was inspired by the story of the Franklin expedition (1845-48) and all the later expeditions that had searched the area north of the Canadian mainland for the two lost ships and 129 men. Amundsen's first goal was therefore the navigation of the Northwest Passage.

The exhibition features large-scale reproductions of century-old lantern slides and other images taken by the famed Norwegian explorer, who in 1905 became the first man to navigate the Northwest Passage. Scenes of life aboard the expedition's ship, Gjoa, of equipment used in making magnetic observations, and of Inuit individuals who assisted the expedition are illuminated by Amundsen's own commentary.

Courtesy of: The Royal Norwegian Embassy Collection

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Echoes in the Ice: History, Mystery, and Frozen Corpses
Prisonniers de la glace: Histoire, mystère et corps gelés

FEBRUARY 16 - MAY 20, 2013

The doomed Franklin expedition of 1845-48 haunts the Canadian imagination. Ever since the ships Erebus and Terror disappeared on their search for the elusive Northwest Passage, mystery has surrounded the fate of Sir John Franklin and his crew. Why did the expedition fail so spectacularly? What catastrophe felled Franklin and many of his crew–and what became of the survivors? What role, if any, did cannibalism play? Presenting the results of recent forensic research along with artifacts recovered from a site where at least 11 crew members perished, the feature exhibition Echoes in the Ice investigates these and other intriguing questions.

The lost Franklin expedition has long inspired artists as well as scientists, and collages by artist Rik van Glintenkamp form an integral part of this exhibition. Incorporating images from historic photos and archival documents, they portray the achievements of 20 individuals, from Martin Frobisher to Roald Amundsen, who shared Franklin's passion for Arctic exploration. The exhibition also examines how contemporary researchers are investigating the impact of climate change on the same landscapes that held Franklin's ships ice-bound some 160 years ago.

A co-production of Gone West Productions and the Canada Science and Technology Museum, with the generous support of Natural Resources Canada and Parks Canada Agency.
Une co-production de Gone West Productions et le Musée des sciences et de la technologie du Canada, avec le génVreux appui de Ressources naturalles Canada et l'Agence Parcs Canada.

*This exhibition is bilingual

Some of the images may be disturbing to younger visitors

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Irene Avaalaaqiaq: Myth and Reality

FEBRUARY 16 - MAY 20, 2013

"The stories my grandmother told me are from the time when animals used to talk like human beings. . .They stopped talking not very long ago." –Irene Avaalaaqiaq

An exhibition of 16 wall hangings by master Inuit artist Irene Avaalaaqiaq opens in our feature gallery on February 16. Bold designs and bright colours are signature elements of Avaalaaqiaq's work. So, too, is storytelling. Raised by her grandparents after her mother's early death, Avaalaaqiaq grew up on the land. Many of her wall hangings interpret stories she heard as a child about the time when animals transformed into humans–and vice versa.

From the Collection of the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario

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content author: Director, Visitor Experience
last updated: May 5, 2014
technical contact: Web Coordinator

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