Exhibit: Climate changes, mysteries of Arctic studied
(Union Leader, 8 July 2007) -- PORTSMOUTH - They lived a century apart, but explorer Adolphus W. Greely and climate change expert Paul Mayewski share a mission: unraveling the mysteries of the Arctic.
Mayewski has collected ice core samples from not only the Arctic, but Antarctica, the Andes, New Zealand, the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau.
Greely's 125-year-old measurements are being used as the baseline of a 2007 study of climate change.
The research of these two men is coming together as part of a free exhibit at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, "Adolphus W. Greely: Abandoned in the Arctic."
Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, Orono, will speak on "The Ice Chronicles and Climate Change" Thursday, July 26, at 7 p.m. at the Levenson Community Meeting Room, Portsmouth Public Library. Before going to Maine, Mayewski was director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire for 25 years.
Greely's scientific expedition began in 1881 with 26 men as part of the first International Polar Year. Barely alive when a Navy rescue mission found him and five of his men three years later, he was taken to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to recuperate.
"The mission was very advanced for its time," said Dr. Geoffrey E. Clark, who has made a documentary that retraces Greely's journey, "Abandoned in the Arctic, Adolphus W. Greely and the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, 1881-1884."
Clark said the welcoming parade for Greely in Portsmouth in August 1884 was barely over when the New York Times broke a series of stories alleging those who died on the mission had been cannibalized and the government had tried to cover it up.
"The unresolved issue of cannibalism would haunt Greely for the rest of his life," Clark said, even though in 1935, at the age of 91, he was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Athenaeum exhibit, designed by Susan Kress Hamilton of Phineas, includes many artifacts from the expedition, including Greely's diaries, journals, prayer book, glasses and the death warrant he wrote ordering the execution of one of his men for stealing food.
A Portsmouth-made replica of the 6-foot brass pendulum Greely and his crew used to make measurements will also be on display. It was this pendulum -- erected on the highest spot on an island -- that was spotted by the Navy rescue party.
The exhibit is free and will be open in the Randall Gallery, 6-8 Market Square, from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
On Saturday, Aug. 4, at 10 a.m., Dr. Clark will speak on "The Making of an Arctic Documentary" in the Athenaeum's Randall Gallery.
Reservations are required for lectures. Call 431-2538.
To find out more, go to portsmouthathenaeum.org or Dr. Clark's Web site at cocked-hat.com