The ROM launches a 3-year, cross-country, Franklin celebration

 Ryan Harris felt a first rush of “absolute
jubilation” when the sonar image of a ship popped up onto his monitor. As a senior
underwater archaeologist with Parks Canada, Harris had spent the past six field
seasons searching for a Franklin ship. Now, at last, he was looking at one of
them. Harris
and his fellow divers soon determined that the ship was the Erebus. During a panel discussion
earlier tonight on the Franklin expedition, an event that drew more than 600
people to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Harris said he was equally
exhilarated when he got into the water and began investigating the find.

winter closing in, Harris and his team had two days. They managed to do seven
two-person dives of 60 to 70 minutes each. After that, because the water was
just 2 or 3 degrees, “we began to get chilled and lose coordination.” Next
year, when the team returns, they will probably use “hard hat air supply,” or a
diving helmet with an air hose running to the surface. This will enable divers
to stay down longer.

Kamookak, a leading Inuit Franklin expert, put in an appearance via videotape from
Gjoa Haven on King William Island in Nunavut. He was delighted with the find,
especially because it vindicated Inuit oral history. He also admitted that, as
a Franklin searcher, he has not focused mainly on the ships: “You can’t go and
look down in the water and see a ship.” Rather, he has been looking for
Franklin’s grave. “I believe he is buried on the island.”

Doug Stenton, director of heritage for the Nunavut government, mentioned the
importance of the early expeditions led by Charles Francis Hall and Frederick
Schwatka. And British naval historian Andrew Lambert stressed that Franklin was
part of a long quest to understand the Earth’s magnetic field.

event kicked off a three-year Franklin Outreach Project led by the ROM and
Parks Canada, which will feature exhibitions and lectures across the country. A
replica of the bell taken from the Erebus, created by Edward Burtynsky using
3-D printing technology, was unveiled, and will be displayed at the ROM until
mid-March, 2015.


  1. Anonymous on February 1, 2022 at 5:17 pm


    It's the very jubilation that Ryan felt that energizes the mind of anyone who knows anything about the Franklin Expedition and the search expeditions, and ongoing attempts to plumb the seemingly bottomless well of knowledge.

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