Arctic Passages

The Photographs of John Bockstoce and his Arctic Journey. Through his photographs, join John Bockstoce and Inupiaq hunters and experience his own narration of small-boat journeys through the Arctic.

Arctic Passages: The Photographs of John Bockstoce and his Arctic Journey

Herman Melville Room

Opened: March 18, 2021

John Bockstoce has been described as an “Arctic Ulysses.” An Arctic anthropologist, historian, and archaeologist with a deep appreciation for Arctic people and culture, Bockstoce navigated the Northwest Passage—an icy and dangerous voyage—over the course of a decade. Much of the journey was done in a salvaged, walrus-hide-covered umiak.

Arctic Passages features images from Bockstoce's personal slides and his own narration of his small-boat journeys through the Arctic. His work is accompanied by images of whaling culture created by Inuit artists. These images, along with the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s own collection of indigenous Arctic art, provide us with a profound understanding of Arctic whaling cultures and the connections between Arctic and Yankee whalers. Arctic Passages  raises the question, what is the future of the people and culture of the Arctic as a result of climate change?