Historic image of Lady Franklin Bay Expedition House under construction. The bow of the Proteus is visible in Discovery Harbor. Two figures stand on the wooden frame of the building. One figure is visible near the sill plate. Virtual reconstruction of the same historic photo showing the house frame fully erected. Discovery Harbor is visible in the background. Another historic photograph showing the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition House under construction, this time from a different angle. A lone figure stands atop the structure. Discovery Harbor is visible in the background. The mast of the Proteus can be seen in the far left of the photograph, along with a drying rack. Virtual reconstruction of the same historic photograph. The wooden frame of the building is visible in the foreground. The Proteus is visible in the left hand corner of the image, along with a drying rack and some cargo. Historic photograph showing the completed house frame of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition headquarters. In this photograph, the arched roof has been completed. Two figures stand on the roof frame adding wall boards. Virtual reconstruction of the same historic photograph. The completed house frame with roof is depicted against a backdrop of brown/grey hills and gullies. Historic photograph of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition House. A canvas lean-to is shown attached to one end of the building, half collapsed and covered in snow. Virtual reconstruction of the same historic photo, showing the completed model of the expedition house with canvas lean-to. Historic photograph of Greely’s quarters, showing his bed, desk, and bookshelves. A window near the desk illuminates the room. Virtual reconstruction of the same historic photo. Greely’s desk and chair are in the foreground. His bed, bookshelves, and books are visible in the background. The room is illuminated by a hurricane lamp that sits on top of his desk. A historic photograph of Lockwood’s quarters. A bed is visible, along with a shelf cluttered with various objects. A desk is visible in the right-hand corner of the photograph. Virtual reconstruction of the same historic photo. The bed and desk are depicted in the reconstruction, but the room appears less cluttered due to the challenges of 3D modeling. Historic image of Lady Franklin Bay Expedition House under construction. The bow of the Proteus is visible in Discovery Harbor. Two figures stand on the wooden frame of the building. One figure is visible near the sill plate.

Welcome to Fort Conger

Why was a US Army Expedition sent to the Canadian High Arctic in 1881, and how is the legacy of 19th century science now threatening one of Canada’s most important heritage sites?

Why We’re Still Fascinated by Fort Conger

Clearly, Fort Conger’s ties to the First International Polar Year (IPY) and the race to the North Pole explain its many awards and designation as a site of national and international significance. But, what explains the enduring appeal of the story of Fort Conger?

Fort Conger was – and still is – an intersection of interests. So many people then – and now – are fascinated by the scientific work done at Fort Conger. Like the explorers of the past, researchers today continue to gain new knowledge about the Canadian Arctic through polar science and indigenous knowledge … their common threads still weave themselves into the science of our day.

At Fort Conger, Inuit Traditional Knowledge and Western Science met to mutual advantage. Explorers and Inughuit both endured great hardship and suffering, as Victorian-era polar explorers used the science of their day to learn about the Canadian Arctic.

The collaboration between explorers and Inughuit shows us how Western Science differs from Inuit Traditional Knowledge. It also explains why, with each successive expedition to Fort Conger, explorers made greater use of indigenous knowledge.

Today, past and present collide at Fort Conger, as the effects of climate change and toxins from an earlier century begin to impact the site.

How is the legacy of 19th century science now threatening one of Canada’s most important heritage sites?

Interact with Fort Conger

The Science of Heritage Preservation

How do we meet the challenge of protecting and preserving this important site, given its remote location?

One way is to digitally preserve Fort Conger using 3D laser scanning technology. Laser scanners accurately capture any object in three dimensions. These 3D images can then be viewed on their own, or used to produce highly detailed computer models and animations.

The laser scanning survey completed at Fort Conger has captured the standing structures, building foundations, and many artefacts that cover the site. CyArk, an organization dedicated to the digital preservation of world heritage sites, currently stores Fort Conger’s 3D images in a growing online digital archive.

Computer reconstructions of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition’s headquarters, their scientific experiments, and sledging journeys will create an immersive experience and give people a sense of what it was like to live and work at Fort Conger during the 19th century.

Meet the Explorers