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For immediate release

October 27, 2014

Franklin ship discovery celebrated with exhibits by two national museums and Library and Archives Canada

OTTAWA, October 27, 2014 – To allow Canadians to share the exciting discovery by Parks Canada scientists of the wreck of Sir John Franklin’s flagship, the Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM), Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) are pleased to announce two special exhibitions: a reopening of CSTM’s Echoes in the Ice: Finding Franklin’s Ship exhibition hosted by LAC, and a display at the CMN of two cases with artefacts from the crew that abandoned the doomed ships. The Franklin Expedition has long fascinated Canadians, and has found a place in Canadian culture through music and literature as well as history.

Echoes in the Ice retraces the adventures of Arctic explorers over the past 170 years. Visitors are invited to explore the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition, lost in search of the Northwest Passage. Through historical nautical artefacts, audio-visual presentations and images, the exhibit tells the fascinating story of how an entire exploration expedition vanished in the Arctic, its fate unknown for years until other explorers began finding clues to what had happened. The exhibition has been updated with recent Parks Canada photos and videos from the discovery of HMS Erebus, and rare books and sketches of the northern landscape taken from sketchbooks by George Back – an expedition artist who accompanied John Franklin on a number of expeditions – which are part of Library and Archives Canada’s collection.

The original Echoes in the Ice exhibition was first presented at the CSTM in 2010 and the updated version will be accessible to the public in the lobby of LAC, at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.

At the CMN, visitors can see 29 selections of artefacts and specimens recovered from a site excavated in 1992 on King William Island, Nunavut. The site marks the final resting place for some Franklin crew members who were attempting to find safe haven after they left their ice-bound ships. Objects displayed include the sole of a shoe, a thimble, nails, the bowl of a tobacco pipe, a fragment of a tin storage can, a barrel stave, and copper mesh used for snow goggles, all testimony to the equipment, clothing and supplies the men would have relied upon. Additionally, the exhibit includes a small assemblage of animal remains, some of which likely represent food eaten by the stranded crew. Some of the objects were later repurposed by Inuit, who passed by the site on their travels.

The CMN manages the Franklin artefacts as well as other archaeological and fossil material on behalf of the Government of Nunavut. The exhibit is included with regular admission to the museum, which is located at 240 McLeod Street in Ottawa

"By visiting the Franklin Expedition exhibitions in the National Capital Region, Canadians will be able to understand the historical importance to our country of the discovery of the wreck of HMS Erebus," said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. "Our Government is pleased with this cooperation between the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature, which also allows everyone to learn more about Canadian Arctic exploration."

“Library and Archives Canada is pleased to host this exhibition,” said Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. “Also, as steward of the collective memory of Canada, we are also proud to complement this exhibition by displaying some of the treasures of our own collection related to the great adventure of Canadian Arctic exploration.”

“The recent discovery of the wreck of one of the Franklin Expedition ships in the Canadian North is a significant archaeological and historical achievement”, says Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation CEO Alex Benay. “We are glad to seize this occasion to help Canadians learn more about the compelling story of this expedition, and to help them live history as it unfolds through this exhibition. This partnership with Library and Archives Canada constitutes the CSTM’s first major venture outside of its walls since the recent closure of the Museum to perform urgent work. We are working tirelessly to ensure we will offer many more such outings so that we continue to fulfill our mandate to Canadians in this more challenging period.”

“One can almost sense the presence of Franklin’s crew when seeing these 160-year-old artefacts, which the CMN is pleased to display for the first time on behalf of the Government of Nunavut,” says Meg Beckel, the Museum’s President and CEO.

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INFORMATION:

Olivier Bouffard
Media Relations
Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
613-410-5943
obouffard@technomuses.ca

Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Communications Services
Canadian Museum of Nature/Musée canadien de la nature
613-566-4781
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca

Richard Provencher 
Head, Media Relations 
Library and Archives Canada 
819-994-4589
Richard.Provencher@bac-lac.gc.ca

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