Bowdoin preserves unique Arctic exploration film

Posted Sept. 11, 2011, at 9:38 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 11, 2011, at 5:51 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin College has finished preserving a rare film of some of Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan’s journeys to Greenland.

The Brunswick school used a National Film Preservation Foundation grant to have a film lab preserve what is believed to be the only existing copy of MacMillan’s first film, “Visiting with the Eskimos of Smith Sound,” made in 1930.

The 15-minute silent film — apparently shot between 1923 and 1925 in northwestern Greenland — shows footage that staff at Bowdoin’s Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum had never seen before. The film was given to Bowdoin by a man whose parents had owned a film studio in Boston that MacMillan used to edit his film footage.

MacMillan graduated from Bowdoin and made more than two dozen scientific journeys to the Arctic Circle.