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Major celebrations planned for Bartlett anniversary

Historic date

Next year, the province will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Capt. Bob Bartlett’s legendary arctic voyage with Robert Peary in 1909 and Memorial University plans to play an important role in this historic event.

Spearheaded by the provincial Historic Sites Association, the anniversary celebrations will touch hundreds of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially Bartlett’s home town of Brigus. The association is urging community groups as well as several units and schools in the university to get involved.

The association launched the public planning around the celebrations with a press conference at Signal Hill on April 23. Called Celebrating Bartlett 2009, one of the highlights is the Ports Program, which will see the Schooner Bowdoin travel to ports around the province. The Bowdoin is an expeditionary schooner from the 1920s once owned by Donald B. MacMillan, who sailed with Bartlett and Admiral Robert Peary in 1906 and 1909.

Memorial is already involved in the Bartlett celebrations. In conjunction with the Historic Sites Association, the Department of Geography has developed a map of Bartlett’s voyages, and have a Bartlett-themed symposium planned.

The Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) at the Marine Institute has proposed to the Historical Sites Association that they simulate two sections of Bartlett’s voyage in the Roosevelt as she carried Peary to the discovery of the North Pole. The first scenario would see ice navigation in the high Arctic while the second would be the arrival of the Roosevelt in Battle Harbour.

This full mission simulation of the Roosevelt’s voyage will be available for tours during August/September 2009. The general public can come in and virtually experience the journey for themselves.

The year-long celebration of Bartlett’s remarkable life will also include historical re-enactments, exhibits, and lectures.

Memorial units considering holding a Bartlett event should advise the Division of Marketing and Communications.

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