Arctic Ambitions

Arctic Ambitions

Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage 

October 17, 2015 - March 6, 2016 
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It is one of science's burning questions: Will the melting Arctic ice reveal a Northwest Passage -- the very thing Captain Cook sought but never found?
The foremost British explorer of the 18th century, Captain James Cook circumnavigated the globe twice before setting a course for the North Pacific. Mostly celebrated for his explorations of the South Pacific, Cook also braved the frozen Arctic searching for a northern route to Asia.
Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage focuses on his journeys in the northeast Pacific during 1778 and 1779. Artifacts, art, and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages bring to life this exciting era in history -- a time of bold discoveries made dangerous by uncharted waters, rocky coasts, and unrelenting ice.
This exhibition examines the legacies of Cook's northern voyage, including changes to indigenous life. Visitors learn about the intriguing issues at play in the North during Cook's expedition that are still relevant today, including different nations' claims to the region and its resources.

Opening Day Schedule

All Day: Sea Exploration Scavenger Hunt. Stop by the Frontier Town Information Station to grab a Sea Exploration Scavenger Hunt and complete it using the Great Hall of Washington History. Turn in your completed worksheet for a prize!

11am - 4pm: Sea Ice vs. Freshwater Ice. How does water's salt content impact its properties as ice? Stop by this excellent activity station to learn for yourself through a hands-on investigation using giant blocks of ice!

11am - 4pm: Gnarly Nautical Knots! Come visit nautical knot master Mike Boyle to see some of his extensive knot-tying techniques, examine some of his most elaborate knots, and learn more about the wide, wide world of nautical knots.

1pm: Ice and Arctic Exploration - From 1778 - 2015. Join Harry Stern, Senior Mathematician at the University of Washington Polar Science Center, as he looks at early exploration of the northern Pacific and what was known about sea-ice conditions to ask how close Captain Cook actually came to discovering the Northwest Passage, and whether he would have succeeded under present climate conditions.

3pm: Life in the North Through Art. Drawing on her Siberian Yupik and Inupiaq ancestry, Alaskan artist Susie Silook explores Inuit stories and the important bond with Bering Sea mammals and environment through her works made of walrus ivory, whale bone, and wood. Silook will discuss her art and share personal experiences and the contemporary issues faced by Arctic peoples in a changing, warming world.

12 - 4pm: Carving Demonstration in People of the Adze. The Shoalwater Bay Carving Program exhibit. Come see artists at work as Earl Davis, Ken Waltman, and Brandt Ellingburg -- the artists showcased in the stellar People of the Adze exhibit -- work on an art piece and discuss their program and history in the exhibit space.  


Learn more about explorers with the Mariners' Museum's Ages of Exploration!


This exhibit is made possible, in part, by Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Alaska Airlines, Jim & Carolyn Milgard, and William & Sandra Cammarano, David Nicandri, and Lummi Business Council.
Tote Maritime
 Alaska Airlines