3-D tooled replica of the Erebus bell at the ROM

Toronto Museum Has A Small (but important) Wreck Exhibition

3-D printer was used to make this replica bell.  On display in Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum

In 1845 the British Franklin Expedition sailed into Canada’s Northern waters to look for the Northwest Passage. There were 129 men, on two ships – the Erebus and the Terror – in the expedition. Early into their planned 3-year quest both ships and all hands were lost somewhere near the Victoria Straits in the Eastern Arctic. The search for Sir John Franklin, his crew and the two ships, began in 1859 and continues to this day.  Earlier this year a Canadian expedition did locate the shallow wreck of the Erebus.

Parks Canada underwater archaeologists – the first to lay eyes on the ship in nearly 170 years – conducted seven dives to the shipwreck over two intensive days of on-site investigation, taking diagnostic measurements, high-resolution photography, and high-definition video. The artifact was identified during the very first dive on the site, and recovered during the very last dive. 

In December a replica of that bell was put on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. The pictured bell is part of a Parks Canada and ROM evolving exhibition about the wreck of the Erebus and the Franklin Expedition.

Even though the bell has been underwater for 170 years it is in very good condition. But what museum goers in Toronto are seeing is not the recovered bell, it is actually a 3D printer replica of the Erebus bell. 
Created by David Didur and Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, the replica makes the bell accessible to Canadians while the original undergoes conservation treatment in Ottawa. The replica bell is in a pop-up display on the first floor of the ROM. As part of the presentation there is an audiotape playing of the sound of a ship's bell!

Article for Diver Magazine. A version of this story has appeared on Facebook


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