Offer an educational look at the struggles world explorers
had with cold and ice blocking issues in the late 1800s

During February, The Barnum Museum is offering a few fascinating events. Please be advised to check the museum’s website or Facebook should weather concerns arise.

During February, The Barnum Museum is offering a few fascinating events. Please be advised to check the museum’s website or Facebook should weather concerns arise. Snow dates for each program have been set and are listed below. Programs will run at the same times as originally scheduled.

Wednesday, February 12 at 12:15 p.m.Sneak Peek Arctic Artifact: Exploring a Re-discovered Treasure in The Barnum Museum Collection presented by Adrienne Saint Pierre, Curator. Attendees are invited to bring their lunches. $2 Donation. Snow date Feb. 19.

For this month’s talk, Saint-Pierre will present a recently re-discovered and highly unusual artifact from the museum’s collection, a 19th century polar expedition sleeping bag made of caribou (reindeer) hide. The sleeping bag was used in 1884 during a dangerous Arctic rescue mission undertaken by the USS Bear, which resulted in locating the few desperate survivors of the ill-fated “Greely Expedition.” Officially called the U.S. Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay, the expedition was part of the first cooperative effort among countries around the world to collect and share polar climate data for the purpose of expanding our understanding of the earth’s climate system.

Tragically, the U.S. team had essentially been abandoned in the Arctic, struggling to survive after the repeated failures of missions to re-supply the men with the food and fuel they would need during their two-year project. Most of the 25 men had perished by the end of the third year, but their scientific mission had been accomplished, and they also set a new record for reaching “Farthest North,” beating the British who had held that title for centuries. The harrowing story behind this artifact is both chilling and riveting and it even has a fascinating link to a topic of current concern, global warming. Attendees are encouraged to return to the museum on February 23 to hear more about the expedition itself.

Sunday, February 23 at 2 p.m.The Greely Expedition: A Tale of Triumph and Tragedy in the Arctic presented by Professor Michael Robinson, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Hartford and an expert on 19th century scientific expeditions. $5 Donation. Snow date March 2.

In 1881, Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely commanded the largest polar expedition ever fielded by the United States.  It would be the most successful — and the most tragic — Arctic expedition in American history. Professor Robinson will give a tantalizing overview of the dangerous and ambitious “Greely Expedition,” in his illustrated presentation.

Robinson is the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006), which won the 2008 book award from the Forum for the History of Science in America. Robinson’s outstanding blog, Time to Eat the Dogs: On Science, History, and Exploration, was named a finalist in 2010 for Research Blogging.

WHAT: The Barnum Museum’s February programs

WHERE: The Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport in the People’s United Bank Gallery, entry located at the back of the historic building

COST: Various see above, however Barnum Museum members are always free

Call for more information 203-331-1104 ext.100, M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

By Stephen Krauchick

DoingItLocal is run by Steve Krauchick. Steve has always had interest with breaking news even as an early teen, opting to listen to the Watergate hearings instead of top 40 on the radio. His interest in news spread to become the communities breaking news leader in Connecticut’s Fairfield County. He strongly believes that the public has right to know what is happening in their backyard and that government needs to be transparent. Steve also likes promoting local businesses.

Leave a Reply