Anvil block from ill-fated Franklin Expedition on display at Calgary's Glenbow Museum

On the heels of shipwreck discoveries related to the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition in northern Canada, the Glenbow Museum has launched a new exhibition.

The small, suitcase-sized wooden block appears weathered and pitted

A wooden anvil block from the ill-fated Franklin Expedition is on display at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary until January. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

On the heels of shipwreck discoveries related to the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition in northern Canada, the Glenbow Museum has launched a new exhibition.

It will give the public a rare look at some notable Franklin artifacts as well as some other European and Inuit perspectives on the North.

"The goal of the exhibition is to look at and discuss the imagery that is associated with the 19th-century British expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, in search of the Northwest Passage but then also looking for the North Pole," said exhibition organizer Travis Lutley.

"We have a group of material on the wall, of artwork both from the Glenbow's collection and a private collection that are illustrating this narrative, then in the middle of the galleries, in cases, we have objects."

One of the artifacts on display is a wooden anvil block that some Franklin history experts didn't even know the Glenbow has had all these years.

Exhibition organizer Travis Lutley says some scholars thought that the anvil had been lost or destroyed. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

The small, suitcase-sized wooden block appears weathered and pitted.

An expedition searching for Franklin and his crew discovered the base for a blacksmith's anvil on Beechey Island in the 1850s.

The block was in a British museum until it was purchased by the Glenbow in the 1960s, said Lutley.

"Some of the scholars invested in this story thought that the block had been lost or destroyed, so when I kind of reached out to do a bit of digging, they were very surprised that we had it," he said.

Rusted pieces of metal were nailed to the anvil block before it arrived in Calgary in the 1960s. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

And there are more mysteries, including which Franklin ship the anvil block came from and why several pieces of rusted metal were nailed to it before it arrived in Calgary.

"As far as we knew, these were also items, fragments if you will, recovered from the same site," said Lutley.

"That's something we're hoping to determine and kind of solidify over the course of the expedition. This is a live piece of research so it's still evolving, we're going to be bringing in new information on it, really trying to detail the item itself."

The exhibition opened Friday and runs until early January 2019.

With files from Dave Gilson

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