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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Press Release

Exhibition of Inuit Cultures Explores Continuity and Change, and Global Warming

HANOVER, N.H. -- In celebration of International Polar Year 2007–8, the Hood Museum of Art has partnered with the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College in the development of Thin Ice: Inuit Traditions within a Changing Environment. On view from January 27 through May 13, 2007, this is the first comprehensive exhibition of Dartmouth’s Arctic collections and features Inuit art and artifacts that have not been seen by the public for many years. The Hood’s collection of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century objects reveals Inuit involvement with their environment, their highly specialized hunting techniques, their economical use of available materials, and the ingenious technology of their hunting equipment and beliefs. While these objects convey much about the past existence of Inuit people, they also have relevance for the present, conveying their culture’s basic connection to nature.

Thin Ice has been curated by cultural anthropologist Nicole Stuckenberger, the Stefansson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dickey Center Institute for Arctic Studies during the past two years at Dartmouth College. From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Stuckenberger spent fourteen months living in the Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq in the new Canadian territory of Nunavut. People there shared their observations and stories with her and took her on camping and hunting trips out on the land. Drawing on these experiences, Dr. Stuckenberger looks at the Dartmouth objects through the prism of hunting, social, and religious life as it is connected to the Inuit concept of weather/climate, called sila, and the many animals of the Arctic region. Voices of Inuit people are heard in the exhibition in two films (one produced by a Dartmouth student) and through an interactive computer program.

The opening lecture will he held on Wednesday, January 31, at 5:30 p.m. in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium. Aqqaluk Lynge, President, Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Greenland, and ICC Vice-Chair for Greenland, will address the pressing topic of climate change. A reception hosted by the Friends of Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art will follow in Kim Gallery.

Dartmouth has a long tradition of northern studies tracing back to Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879–1962), Arctic explorer, scholar, and founder of Dartmouth’s Northern and Polar Studies Program. This legacy continues in the Stefansson Special Collection on Polar Exploration, one of the world’s premiere library resources on the history of the Arctic regions and Antarctica. The Institute of Arctic Studies, founded in 1989, is a program of the Dickey Center for International Understanding that has established itself as a leading center of Arctic studies. It acts to facilitate faculty and student research, teaching, and an understanding of issues facing high-latitude regions.

This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, and generously funded by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Foundation, the Kane Lodge Foundation, and the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund and Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund.

An illustrated catalogue, distributed by the University Press of New England, accompanies this exhibition and is available in the Hood Museum of Art Shop.

Related Exhibitions
Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic and Subhankar Banerjee: Resource Wars in the American Arctic will both be on view this spring, from March 27 through May 20, 2007. All of these exhibitions will also play a role in the international Arctic Science Summit Week, March 14–20.

About the Hood
The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and is cited by AAM as a national model. The Hood is located in the heart of downtown Hanover, N.H., in an award-winning building designed by Charles Moore. The museum’s outstanding and diverse collections include American portraits, paintings, watercolors, drawings, silver, and decorative arts, European Old Master prints and drawings, paintings, and sculpture, and ancient, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Native American collections from almost every period in history to the present. The Hood regularly displays its collections and organizes major traveling exhibitions while featuring major exhibitions from around the country. The museum provides a rich diversity of year-round public programs.

Admission is free of charge. Operating hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. The Hood Museum of Art Gift Shop offers items inspired by the collections and exhibitions. The Hood is wheelchair accessible and offers assistive listening devices. For further accessibility requests, please contact the museum.

Last Updated: 1/25/07