With my very best wishes, Robin! Looking forward to get our Alaska La Perouse Memorial established with you and our friend Professor Judy Ramos in the near future.
Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook & the Northwest Passage
Tuesday, November 3
From 11.03.2015 8:30 am until 11.03.2015 3:30 pm
At Washington State History Museum Calling all history buffs! We’re heading off to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma to see the exhibition on the foremost British explorer of the 18th century. As a special bonus, local historian and author Dave Nicandri leads us through the exhibit of Captain James Cook’s 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. Mr. Nicandri, former Executive Director of Washington State History Museum, co-edited the companion document to this exhibit and is currently writing a book on the subject, titled “A New Look at Captain Cook: Voyaging in the Icy Latitudes”. He’ll lead us on an exclusion tour of the exhibit and give us the inside scoop on Captain Cook’s attempt to find the Northwest Passage. We’ll have lunch at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub where we can continue talking about this thrilling period in history.
$69 Members; $74 General Public
Includes transportation, admission, expert guide and lunch.
Bus leaves Olympia at 8:30 am; Lacey at 9:00 am.
Approximate return 3:30 p.m.
Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage
October 17, 2015 to March 6, 2016
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.
In a renewal of their long-standing partnership, the Washington State History Museum and the Anchorage Museum in Alaska present an exhibition on James Cook’s Third Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, opening at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma on October 17, 2015.
As the principal goal of Cook’s voyage was to search for the navigable passage assumed to exist between the Pacific and Atlantic across the top of North America, the main focus of Arctic Ambitions is on the North Pacific, the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Cook and his companions not only mapped much of the American coastline for the first time, but also encountered different groups of native peoples, in most cases establishing first contact. Arctic Ambitions explores this survey of the coast and these encounters.
In addition, Cook’s experience in the Arctic is used as a lens through which to look at the Northwest Passage today which, due to the rapid melting of sea ice, is becoming navigable for longer periods of time each year. The material draws parallels between the legacy of Cook’s “opening” of the Northwest Coast and Alaska and global warming’s “opening” of the Arctic, with its implications for aboriginal cultures, resource exploitation, the need for credible charts, and the complex issues surrounding sovereignty.
This 5,000-sq. ft. exhibit and its complementary programming makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the earliest recorded history of the Northwest Coast of America and Alaska and, in addressing climate change in the Arctic in the context of the Northwest Passage, demonstrates the relevance of that history to the present-day.
“Arctic Ambitions is full of rare objects such as Cook’s journal written in his own hand and artifacts made by Northwest Natives brought home from six countries for the first time in over 200 years,” explains Redmond Barnett, Head of Exhibits at the Washington State History Museum. “It tells the story of the economic and political struggle of Cook’s voyage, and climate change from 1778-80, through the eyes of both Native Americans and Europeans.”
On opening day of the exhibit, Harry Stern, contributor to the book Arctic Ambitions and a specialist on polar ice will provide a presentation and a hands-on demonstration about the properties of polar ice vs. freshwater ice. Additional programming during the run of the exhibit includes living history characters in the popular Ghosts of the Great Hall field trip program and transportation assistance grants for schools booking field trips to the History Museum before March 1, 2016. Additional programs as they are developed can be found at www.WashingtonHistory.org.
The curator is Robin Inglis, a Fellow of the Canadian Museums Association and former Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. An experienced exhibit curator, he has lectured and written extensively on the subject of early exploration along the coasts of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
The exhibition was designed by the Storyline Studio of Seattle and features as many as 300 original items––models, navigational instruments, charts, maps, manuscripts and pieces collected from Native Americans encountered during the voyage––borrowed from museums, libraries, archives and private collections in England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The Museum Store also offers an extensively illustrated companion book organized by historian David Nicandri with essays by today’s leading scholars in the relevant fields of history, anthropology, and science.
For more information on Arctic Ambitions, logon to www.WashingtonHistory.org.
Founded in 1891, just two years after Washington became a state, the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) is now into its second century of service dedicated to the collecting, preserving, and vividly presenting Washington’s rich and varied history. The Historical Society is comprised of a family of museums and a research center, offering a variety of services to researchers, historians, scholars, children, and lifelong learners. By connecting personal, local, regional, and national stories to the universality of the human experience, and collecting materials from our state that help tell those stories, the Washington State Historical Society is indispensable to the people of Washington. WSHS served over 90,000 people last year with exhibits that gained national attention and valuable school field trips.
1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma
Hours: 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday
3rd Thursday of Every Month: Free admission from 2pm – 8pm
Children 5 and under: Free
Robin Inglis is a fellow of the Canadian Museums Association and author of the Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America. He has served as research curator for the exhibition Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage for the Anchorage Museum and the Washington State Historical Society.
Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage
Exhibit ended Sep 07, 2015
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.
This exhibition 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.
The exhibition examines the legacies of Cook’s northern voyage, including changes to indigenous life. 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.
Arctic Ambitions is presented in partnership with the Washington State History Museum.
Arctic Ambitions is an official program of the Anchorage Centennial Celebration. For more information about the Centennial, visit anchoragecentennial.org.
Explore the Exhibit
Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage
Edited by James K. Barnett and David L. Nicandri, Heritage House Publishing, 429 pp., $59.95 hardcover
In 1776 Captain James Cook set sail on his third voyage across the Pacific Ocean, this time in an attempt to navigate the Northwest Passage and find a route between Europe and Asia. The British explorer had previously completed two voyages in the Pacific, during which he’d created some of the most detailed maps of eastern Australia.
Cook’s quest was ultimately unsuccessful, and he was eventually forced to travel south, where he discovered the Hawaiian islands. Historians have argued about Cook’s relationship with the Hawaiians, but the most popular belief is that the islanders welcomed Cook because they thought he was a god.
Whatever the Hawaiians really thought of Cook, many cartographers today regard him as one of the most influential explorers in history. Still, he remains a mysterious personality. As Nicholas Thomas, the director and curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, England, writes in Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage, a beautifully presented anthology of 18 essays published in February, “There has been much myth making about Cook the man and Cook the navigator.”
But enough is known about Cook’s work and legacy to be detailed in Arctic Ambitions, which complements the March opening of an almost 700-square-metre exhibit of the same name at the Anchorage Museum, in Anchorage, Alaska.
The essays, written by professors, historians, archeologists and anthropologists, cover subjects such as Cook’s life, his navigational techniques, his interactions with indigenous peoples and his personal journal in great detail. One of the contributors and the writer of the book’s preface, Robin Inglis, a former director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum and research curator for the project, hopes the book will help shine a light on what he considers was Cook’s most “underreported and underappreciated” voyage.
As revealing as the retelling of Cook’s travels is, however, it’s far from the most thought-provoking aspect of the book. That comes closer to the end, with the essays more relevant to modern discourse on issues surrounding the Northwest Passage. These range from topics such as sovereignty over the Canadian Arctic archipelago to what Inglis says is the most significant debate today — the environmental destruction and cultural interference in the area. He argues that the use of the notoriously hostile Northwest Passage as a commercial route will lead to disastrous effects and raise security concerns for Canada, a problem that needs to be dealt with proactively.
Although text-heavy, the book features about 185 photographs of artifacts, drawings, paintings, and, of course, maps that relate to Cook and the Northwest Passage. It is a book clearly made for the historical enthusiast but is visually appealing enough to attract casual readers with the faintest interest in cartography and marine navigation.
Author Tags: 1700-1800, Spanish
Robin Inglis, born in 1942 in Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, is a former director of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. As a long-serving president of the Spanish Pacific Historical Society, Inglis is an internationally respected expert on the Spanish presence in the North Pacific. He and John Kendrick developed a symposium to mark the bicentennial of the Malaspina expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1991, from which he edited a collection of papers that were presented. His major compendium called Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America was decades in the making and stands as an essential text for any scholar or lay person with a serious interest in the subject area.
Robin Inglis was educated at Cambridge University, where he read History. Coming to Canada to teach in 1965, he later enrolled in the Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum. He graduated with a Masters Degree and embarked on his museum career in 1971. He served as Executive Director of the Canadian Museums Association in the 1970s and more recently as Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum (1982-1991) and the North Vancouver Museum and Archives (1991-2007.
While at the VMM he became a student of the early exploration of the Northwest Coast of America, and curated major exhibits on the French explorer La Perouse and the Spanish explorer Alejandro Malaspina. He was Regional Editor (NWC) for the Hakluyt Society’s recent 3 volume edition of the Malaspina Journal (2001-2004) He has written numerous articles and lectured on the subject of early coastal exploration in this part of the world.
A Fellow of the Canadian Museum Association, he has received decorations from the governments of Canada, France and Spain for his work as a museum educator and administrator, and as a historian.
Review of the author’s work by BC Studies:
Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America
The Lost Voyage of Lapérouse (Vancouver Maritime Museum Society, 1986)
The Advance of Seapower: Treasures from the Tamm Collection (Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1992). With Michael North.
Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2008) ISBN -13: 978-0-8108-5551-9
Spain and the North Pacific Coast: Essays in Recognition of the Bicentennial of the Malaspina Expedition 1791-1792. (Vancouver Maritime Museum Society, 1992)
The English translation of Bodega y Quadra’s Pacific Northwest journal is available as Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America, 1792 (Arthur H. Clarke Co. / University of Oklahoma Press 2012 $34.95 U.S.), translated by the late Freeman M. Tovell with contributions by Robin Inglis and Iris H.W. Engstrand. With a foreword by Chief (Michael) Maquinna. 978-0-87062-408-7
Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage (Heritage House, 2015) $59.95 9781772030617
[BCBW 2015] “1700-1800” “Spanish” “Classic”