Lessons From the Arctic



Ahoy there First Mates! Welcome. We’re glad you’re visiting the Lessons from the Arctic exhibition. There’s lots to learn here, and we’ve got some questions to help you get more out of your visit. To learn the answer to any of the questions select the + symbol in the answer box. The hints tell you which exhibition panels hold the answers you seek.

Scavenger Hunt

Question 1

There are many ships in this exhibition including:

Kainan Maru

Which of these did Roald Amundsen sail aboard?

Hint: Look for the Timeline,  Roald Amundsen in Seattle, The Next Expedition, The Gjøa Expedition and The Belgica Expedition panels

Answer to Question 1

Roald Amundsen sailed aboard Maud, Fram, Gjøa and Belgica.

Question 2

Find the photo below in the Lessons from the Arctic exhibition panels. Can you find the name of the ship in the panel? 

Hint: Look for the Belgica Expedition panel

rendering of a ship

Answer to Question 2

This ship is named  Belgica.

Question 3

What type of fuel did Gjoa use?

Hint: Look for the Gjøa Expedition panel.

Answer to Question 3

Gjoa used gasoline or petrol. 

Question 4

What type of fuel did Fram use?

Hint: Look for the Crew panel

Answer to Question 4

Fram used diesel.

Question 5

Why are ponies not good animals for polar exploration?

Hint: Look for the What About Scott panel.

Answer to Question 5

Ponies are meant to live in temperate climates.

Question 6

Find the photos of Fram and Terranova in this exhibit (or look at the images below). Which ship is a square-rigged barque, and which is a gaff-rigged schooner?

Hint: Look at the shape of the sails and look at the Timeline panel.

black and white photo of a ship with square sails.

Ponting, Herbet. (1910). Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova. In the pack – a lead opening up [Photo]. Retrieved https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Herbert_Ponting_Scott%27s_ship_Terra_Nova_1910.jpg (accessed June 1, 2020) Wikimedia Commons Public Domain.

black and white image of ship.

Nicklas, Steve. (1911). A photograph Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition ship Fram, under sail in Antarctic waters [Photo]. Retrieved https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amundsen-Fram.jpg (accessed June 1, 2020) Wikimedia Commons Public Domain.

Answer to Question 6

Fram is a tern schooner and Terranova is a square-rigged barque.

Question 7

What foods did Amundsen and Scott’s crew consume while they were exploring the Antarctic?

Hint: Look for the Three Depot Expeditions panels.

Answer to Question 7

Margarine, biscuits, chocolate, blubber, pemmican, seal fillets, etc.

Question 8

What advantage does a diesel engine have over a steam engine?

Hint: Look for the Fram Expedition panels. 

Answer to Question 8

It is more efficient, lighter, and space saving since coal takes up a lot of room.

Question 9

Look at the photos of the Fram Museum in this exhibit (or look at the image below). Why do you think the building is of this unique A-frame shape? Can you think of another museum that has the same shape?

Hint: Look for the Then What Happened panel.

A photo of Fram Museum, an A-frame building.

Answer to Question 9

The A-frame design is perfect for sheltering a ship with tall masts. The Vancouver Maritime Museum is the same shape.

Question 10

In the often-barren lands of the polar regions, what can you eat to prevent and/or recover from scurvy?

Hint: Look for the Gjøa Expedition panel.

Answer to Question 10

Polar bear, birds, caribou, fish, and other fresh meat.

Question 11

How many people were on Amundsen’s team on his expedition to the South Pole? How many people were on Scott’s team?

Hint: Look for the Timelines panel. 

Answer to Question 11

There were 19 people on Roald Amundsen’s team and there were 65 people on Scott’s team. 

General Knowledge Questions

First Mates, these answers will challenge you a little more because the answers won’t be found directly in the exhibition panels. 

Question 12

What causes scurvy

Hint: Look for the Gjøa Expedition panels.

Answer to Question 12

Scurvy is a lack of a sufficient intake of vitamin C caused by not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Question 13

A compass can be used to determine direction in most cases, but it is not effective in the polar regions. Why?

Hint: Look for the Gjøa Expedition panels.

Answer to Question 13

A compass cannot work if it’s too close to the magnetic poles.

Question 14

What is the origin of the word fathom?

Hint: Look for the VMM sign about a fathom. 

Answer to Question 14

A fathom is the distance between a sailor’s thumb and “far thumb.”

Critical Thinking Questions

These are questions you can’t get wrong because there are no right or wrong answers. 


Question 15

If you were in Roald Amundsen’s shoes, would you have made the same decision to journey without a doctor?

Question 16

Sailors were talented people who often had to do many things beyond their assigned roles. Do you think you have the skills to be a member of Amundsen’s team?

For context, see the Gjøa Expedition panels.

Question 17

Amundsen’s voyage through the Northwest Passage took three years. Today ships can travel the same route in less than two weeks. Why this change?

For context, see the Gjøa Expedition panels.

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