Dartmouth College has in the Hood Museum of Art and Rauner Special Collections Library a substantial number of objects relating to the art and material culture of Canada and the circumpolar North. The Arctic collection at the Hood Museum of Art numbers more than three thousand items. Rauner Special Collections Library holds the Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration, where a number of interesting paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, and sketchbooks are kept, together with their accompanying manuscript material. Although Dartmouth College’s long association with northern and Arctic research is well known, and the impressive Stefansson Collection of books and manuscripts has been widely recognized and used for many years, there has been less awareness of the College’s Inuit collections. The establishment of the Institute of Arctic Studies in the late 1980s reinvigorated and nourished interest in these collections as well.
Much of Dartmouth’s northern material came as the direct or indirect result of the remarkable period of northern activity at the College in the l950s and 1960s. The acquisition of the Stefansson Collection in 1952, the presence of Vilhjalmur and Evelyn Stefansson on campus throughout the 1950s, and the staunch support for Canadian and Arctic endeavors at Dartmouth on the part of then-President John Sloan Dickey all combined to make the College a leader in northern activity during this period. Donations, including several sizable groups of objects, account for a major portion of the collection. There have been occasional purchases of single fine objects or groups of works to augment these holdings, but it is a testimony to the strength of the northern impetus at the College, and to the loyalty and affection of the College’s students, faculty, and friends, that these collections are so substantial in number and include so many fine objects.
Last Updated: 8/1/13