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Extreme Explorers – Sea to Space

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A symbol of leading-edge science and exploration, the Arctic Medal 1818–1855 was the first British Arctic service medal. Authorized by Queen Victoria in 1857, it was awarded to individuals around the world who participated ― during the years 1818 to 1855 ― in discovery missions to find the North Pole or the Northwest Passage, or in search expeditions to locate Sir John Franklin’s missing ships.

This unissued medal is part of The Manitoba Museum’s Hudson’s Bay Company Collection. In 2009, it was again at the forefront of modern exploration when it was taken to the International Space Station by Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk.


The medal is displayed as part of an exchange through which the Canadian Museum of History is loaning to The Manitoba Museum the replica of Samuel de Champlain’s astrolabe. The replica also travelled in space — with another Canadian astronaut, Julie Payette.