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From Science to Survival: Using Virtual Exhibits to Communicate the Significance of Polar Heritage Sites in the Canadian Arctic

Peter Dawson
  • Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. T2N1N4, Canada
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Richard Levy
Published Online: 2016-11-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2016-0016


Many of Canada’s non-Indigenous polar heritage sites exist as memorials to the Heroic Age of arctic and Antarctic Exploration which is associated with such events as the First International Polar Year, the search for the Northwest Passage, and the race to the Poles. However, these and other key messages of significance are often challenging to communicate because the remote locations of such sites severely limit opportunities for visitor experience. This lack of awareness can make it difficult to rally support for costly heritage preservation projects in arctic and Antarctic regions. Given that many polar heritage sites are being severely impacted by human activity and a variety of climate change processes, this raises concerns. In this paper, we discuss how virtual heritage exhibits can provide a solution to this problem. Specifically, we discuss a recent project completed for the Virtual Museum of Canada at Fort Conger, a polar heritage site located in Quttinirpaaq National Park on northeastern Ellesmere Island (http://fortconger.org).

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Arctic; Heritage; Fort Conger; Virtual Reality; Computer Modeling; Education; Climate Change; Polar Exploration; Digital Archaeology


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About the article

Received: 2016-01-20

Accepted: 2016-10-29

Published Online: 2016-11-23

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2016-0016.

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© 2016 Peter Dawson, Richard Levy. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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