Greenland and Baffin Bay: Representations in Art and Told and Untold Histories of Greenlanders and Western Explorers.


This project was the culminating project of Environmental Studies 15, Environmental Issues of the Earth’s Cold Regions, taught in Spring term 2023. The students in this course contributed their talents and perspectives to create a scholarly exhibit aimed at an informed public audience. We hope their work will be useful to classes at the high school and college levels interested in the centrality of the Arctic to the future of our climate and the wellness of all.

Working in four groups, fourty Dartmouth undergraduates constructed this exhibit focused on Greenland and the Baffin Bay. With the assistance of Rauner Library staff, students selected items from the Stefansson Collection and other sources, wrote informative exhibit entries, and worked together to structure the overall exhibit seen here. The resulting exhibit traces a history of selected western explorers from the 18th and 19th centuries, their interactions with Indigenous peoples, and the representation of the Arctic from this time period in art and photography. The exhibit is based on the premise that an understanding of today’s rapidly changing Arctic environment and the future sustainability of its communities must be based on knowledge of the past, both Western and Indigenous.

Why the Arctic at Dartmouth?

This digital exhibit is a learning collaboration between the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire and “Pole to Pole,” an environmental studies course taught by Professor Ross Virginia with the assistance of Ph.D. graduate teaching fellow, Sarah Cuprewich. The course examines climate change, Indigenous peoples, and environmental issues in the Arctic through the complementary lenses of Indigenous and Western science, the histories of Western exploration and colonization, and the rapidly evolving geopolitics of the Arctic region.

Dartmouth has a long and rich history in interdisciplinary Arctic Studies. Since it's founding in 1989, the Institute of Arctic Studies, housed within the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, has been engaging in world-class scholarship and education. Furthermore, the Rauner Library houses the Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration, founded as the private research collection of Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962), who spent his later years at Dartmouth College during the 1950’s until his passing in 1962. The Stefansson Collection, one of the world’s richest bodies of printed materials, journals, newspaper clippings, and photographs related to the Polar regions, served as the foundation for the course project.

Land recognition

We recognize and acknowledge that the land on which we call Dartmouth is the traditional and unceded territory of the Abenaki people and the Wabenaki confederacy prior to their forced removal. These lands continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity. We honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we gather for our work and learning.


This project would not have been possible without the expert guidance and individual student mentoring provided by Dr. Jay Satterfield (Head of Special Collections, Rauner Library), Scout Noffke (Reference and Administrative Specialist, Rauner Library), Laura Braunstein (Head of Digital Scholarly Engagement, Dartmouth Library) and August Guszkowski (Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Fellow). Collectively they devoted many hours working with students and their research groups to discover sources, focus concepts, and mentor the design and content of this exhibit.

Students: Sarah Adams, Bond Almand, Maeen Arslan, Maddie Benello, Nicole Bilchick, Peter Blatchford, Tennison Brady-Steen, Maxwell Breuninger, Thomas Bryan, Luke Collins, Sara Cook, Trey Cormier, Francesco Dembinski, Jesse Ferraioli, Kenneth Ge, Catherine Golubovsky, Zachary Grunes, Destiny Hannon, Eric Hryniewicz, Hannah Jarvis, Isabelle Jennings, Zoe Johnson, Kaitlin Kolb, Alana Macken, Daniela Maksin, Aarav Malhotra, Rohan Menezes, Maxwell Miracle, Montana Murphy, Ava Neijna, Grace Park, Daniel Pelayo, Emily Pridemore, Jackson Proctor, William Reicher, Jackson Scarbrough, Kyle Spencer, Valerie Stacey, Sophia Sulimirski, Tobin Yates