HMS Erebus bell replica to become centerpiece of Franklin exhibit

A 3D printed replica of the brass bell discovered on HMS Erebus, one of two ships that were part of Sir John Franklin’s expedition, will become the centerpiece of a new exhibition on Thursday at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

The researchers had found HMS Erebus on the sea floor in an area that Inuit elders had long identified as the final resting place of at least one of Franklin’s ships. It is believed that Franklin himself was aboard the Erebus.

The two ships of the Franklin expedition, which included 129 members, disappeared during the 1845 quest to find Northwest Passage.

The Erebus, the vessel on which Sir John Franklin himself sailed, was discovered in September. The mystery of exactly what happened to Franklin and his men has never been solved. Also, the location of the other ship, HMS Terror, remains a mystery so far.

Parks Canada, the agency that led the search for Franklin’s ships, has partnered with the ROM and Canada’s History Museum Network to bring the exhibit to seven museums nation-wide. The replica bell will be on display at the ROM throughout the holiday season.

According to Leona Aglukkaq, the federal environment minister, the exhibit, called the ‘Franklin Outreach Project,’ will help bring the story of the expedition to millions of Canadians.

Janet Carding, the museum’s director and CEO, said, “The bell that was recovered from the ship requires extensive conservation and so the creation of a full-size 3D replica, the only one in the world seems to us to be a great way to launch this project”.

The Franklin Outreach Project will include pop-up displays, lectures and exhibitions incorporating modern technology and Inuit traditional knowledge to bring the Franklin story to life.

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