Essential information

Opening times: 
10.00-17.00
Admission: 
Included in venue ticket
Location: 
National Maritime Museum, Ground floor, Voyagers gallery

A relic of Sir John Franklin's tragic expedition 1845-48.

These spectacles with tinted lenses were found in an abandoned boat at Erebus Bay, King William Island, in May 1859 by the McClintock Search Expedition 1857-59.

McClintock's party reached this site on 30 May and discovered that another expedition had been there a few days before on 18 May. The boat was 28 foot long and mounted on a heavy sledge.

McClintock found it just above high tide mark pointing back in the direction of the ships and containing a large quantity of abandoned personal possessions and two skeletons.

Over the years there would be many expeditions looking for the 128 men who were lost along with Sir John Franklin. Analysis of their remains suggests that combined with exposure to the harsh environment, a combination of hypothermia, lead poisoning, scurvy and starvation would prove fatal to all.

These spectacles along with many other items, some previously unseen in the UK, will be part of a major new exibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.

Death in the ice - Franklin exhibition opens 14 July 2017

Franklin death in the ice season promo imaage

Discover the shocking story of Franklin’s final expedition at the National Maritime Museum’s major new exhibition exploring this unsolved mystery.

In 2014, the wreck of HMS Erebus was discovered off the coast of Canada, followed by the discovery of HMS Terror in 2016.

As Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team starts to bring to light the ships and their contents, Death in the ice will see some of their discoveries – including personal items, clothing and components of the ships – displayed in Britain for the first time.

Read more about the Death in the ice exhibition