Maine’s connection to the Arctic goes back to 1860 when a professor from Bowdoin College lead a group of students and alumni to Labrador and West Greenland. The allure of Arctic exploration also lead two Bowdoin graduates, Robert Peary and Donald MacMillan, to make numerous expeditions to the region. Both men had vessels, the SS Roosevelt and the Schooner Bowdoin, designed for Arctic travel, built in Maine shipyards.
In 1909, Peary and his team claimed to be the first to reach the North Pole. MacMillan continued working in the region until 1954. Today, that tradition of Mainers in the Arctic is finding renewal in politics, the economy, arts, education and science. Created in the two explorer's namesake, The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, provides opportunities to explore cultural, social, and environmental issues involving Arctic lands and peoples.