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From July 21-Aug. 20, Smith College and collaborators to retrace historic Harriman Expedition to Alaska

9,000-mile coastline voyage will include much-anticipated repatriation of sacred artifacts removed in 1899

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.--Just over a century ago, industrialist and railroad magnate Edward Harriman chartered a ship to take his family on a pleasure cruise to Alaska, one of the last remaining expanses of unexplored wilderness and open space on the North American continent.

What began as a summer vacation soon turned into an ambitious 9,000-mile scientific expedition. Harrimans guest list grew to include 25 of the 19th centurys most accomplished scientists, conservationists and artists, among them nature writer John Burroughs, naturalist and mountaineer John Muir and photographer Edward Curtis. The exhaustive documentation they produced shaped indelibly our image of Alaskas natural resources and of North Americas earliest native cultures.

This summer, from July 21 to Aug. 20, a Smith College-sponsored expedition will retrace the original route of the Harriman Expedition, in a voyage designed to assess the ecological and societal changes that have occurred in Alaska over the last century.

Aboard the M/V Clipper Odyssey, a 340-foot, 120-passenger expedition vessel, members of the Smith community, accompanied by a team of nationally recognized scientists, artists and naturalists, will retrace the 9,000-mile route of Harrimans steamship, following the Inside Passage along the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands across the Arctic Circle to the Bering Strait and Russia. Expedition director Tom Litwin, director of Smith Colleges Clark Science Center, describes "The Harriman Expedition Retraced" as "a nationally significant, one-of-a-kind experience, a chance to engage, firsthand, questions of our cultural history and our environmental legacy, in a landscape where those issues are particularly urgent and evocative."

In the company of 24 leading scholars, the 2001 expedition will recreate E. H. Harrimans "floating
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Contact: Marti Hobbes
mhobbes@smith.edu
413-585-2190
Smith College
3-Jul-2001


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