Death in the ice: The shocking story of Franklin’s final expedition

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Death in the ice: The shocking story of Franklin’s final expedition

National Maritime Museum, Open until 7 January 2018

Running until 7 January 2018, the National Maritime Museum (NMM) is hosting a major exhibition, developed by the Canadian Museum of History (CMH) in partnership with the NMM and Parks Canada, and in collaboration with the Government of Nunavut and the Inuit Heritage Trust, exploring the mysterious fate of Sir John Franklin and his crew on their final expedition – a mystery that still remains unsolved today.

With over 200 objects on display from the superlative collections of the NMM and the CMH, alongside finds from HMS Erebus – whose resting place was only discovered in 2014 – on show for the very first time in Europe, the exhibition promises to advance our understanding of the expedition, to reveal the Victorian fascination with the Arctic, and to begin to answer questions about what may have happened to those men on their fateful journey to the Arctic all those years ago.

Setting sail from the Thames on 19 May 1845, Sir John Franklin and his crew, aboard HMS Erebus and Terror, were the British nation’s biggest hope of finally traversing the whole of the North-West Passage – the much desired passage from Europe to Asia thought to enable an easier trade route. A hope that Britain believed with near certainty was about to be realized by the largest expedition the nation had ever sent to the Arctic region, under the leadership of the already well-decorated and well-travelled, 59-year-old Franklin.

However, July 1845 in Baffin Bay was to be the last time Europeans saw Franklin and his 128-man crew, as HMS Erebus and Terror sailed toward their goal of finally charting the remainder of the North-West Passage. Two years passed and still nothing had been heard from the men, prompting the first of a series of expeditions to be sent into the Arctic in an attempt to find them and the reasons why they had not been in touch with their loved ones back home. Between 1847 and 1880, over thirty search expeditions ventured to the Arctic in the hopes of uncovering the fate of the Franklin expedition.

Visitors can learn about the history of this extraordinary expedition at the Royal Museums Greenwich, National Maritime Museum.

Death in the Ice: The Shocking Story of Franklin’s Final Expedition isdeveloped by the Canadian Museum of History, in partnership with Parks Canada and with the National Maritime Museum, and in collaboration with the Government of Nunavut and the Inuit Heritage Trust.

Groups and Travel Trade:

Venue: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Dates: Open now until 7 January 2018

Opening times: Every day, 10.00– 17.00

Visitor enquiries:- 020 8858 4422 /


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