Explore the enduring mystery behind Sir John Franklin’s tragic expedition. Leaving Britain in 1845 to chart the Northwest Passage through the Arctic, the expedition’s two ships and 129 men never returned. Through historical artifacts and Inuit oral history, this groundbreaking exhibition provides the most comprehensive account to date of Franklin’s final voyage.
Frozen. Isolated. Trapped.
In 1845, Sir John Franklin led the Royal Navy’s sturdiest two ships into the Arctic to great international acclaim. His mission: to discover a Northwest Passage to Asia. Franklin and his crew were never heard from again. Thirty-seven expeditions were launched from several countries in a decades-long effort to discover the fate of Franklin’s men. Tantalizing clues, including graves, provisions, Inuit tales, and a single handwritten note told a grim story, but the men and ships would never be found.
Discover one of the most fascinating mysteries in the history of exploration.
This most enduring of mysteries leapt back into the headlines in 2014 with the discovery of Franklin’s flagship, HMS Erebus, then two years later with the discovery of HMS Terror, each incredibly well preserved at depths of less than one hundred feet in the Arctic Ocean. Dives aboard the wrecks are rapidly changing our understanding of what befell Franklin’s expedition.
This exhibition pulls together the strands of this epic history. Included are expedition materials from London along with Inuit culture and knowledge that led to the wrecks’ discoveries from Canada, and artifacts raised from HMS Erebus.
Good Reads About the Franklin Expedition
The Great Polar Mystery: Closing in on the Truth (New Science)
Mysterious Lost Ships. HMS Terror and Erebus Reveal New Layer of Clues in Arctic (Washington Post)
Tales of the Doomed Franklin Expedition Ignored the Inuit Side, But "The Terror" Flips the Script (Smithsonian Magazine)
Ghost Ships of the Arctic (Daily Mail)