Mystic Seaport and AMC Networks – Raising Public Awareness of the Franklin Expedition

On December 1, Mystic Seaport will open the exhibition Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition. The Franklin story is well known in Canada and the United Kingdom, and carried with pride, but the events are not familiar to many in the United States. To increase public awareness prior to the opening of Death in the Ice, the Museum is increasing visitor and social media awareness of the new AMC series, The Terror, which premiered March 26.

As part of the Museum’s efforts to raise awareness, AMC will lend the Museum video from The Terror, as well as virtual reality software, that will be shown in the Pilalas Lobby of the Thompson Exhibition Building. This will allow visitors to gain an additional sense of what it would be like to be stranded in the ice aboard one of Rear Adm. Sir John Franklin’s ships.

“When visitors come to Mystic Seaport in December to see the Franklin exhibition, they will discover long lost artifacts only recently recovered from Franklin’s ships,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “In the meantime, AMC’s 10-part series The Terror will bring awareness to this great mystery, serving as an example of where a fictional account can excite the public’s interest in gaining a better understanding of history. We are honored to be the venue for the Franklin exhibition, which premiered at the UK’s Royal Museums Greenwich and is presently at the Canadian Museum of History, and we are excited to be joining with AMC as we excite interest in Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition.”

Although The Terror is at its core a fictionalized account, Executive Producer Ridley Scott speaks of the authenticity and accuracy that was carefully woven into the presentation. To this end, in filming The Terror, the production crew needed to create a likeness to the lost Franklin vessels (the HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus). The production team recreated the interior of the two 19th-century ships on a soundstage in Budapest, Hungary, where initial filming took place. In order to create an authentic feel for the viewer, the producers also hired a team of shipwrights to construct a replica of the ship, which was used for filming on the Island of Pag in Croatia.

Mystic Seaport visitors will have the opportunity to gain a strong sense of the size of these vessels as they are surprisingly close to the proportions of its own exhibition vessel, the Charles W. Morgan. The HMS Erebus was launched in 1813 with a length of 105 feet and beam of 29 feet and the HMS Terror was launched with a beam of 102 feet and a beam of 27 feet, both built as military vessels. In comparison, Charles W. Morgan, a commercial ship launched in 1841, is 113 feet in length and 27.5 feet in beam.

Students of American History will also find interest in the fact that the HMS Terror played a role during the War of 1812 when the British blockaded the Atlantic coast. In fact, the HMS Terror participated in the bombardment of nearby Stonington, Connecticut, and later joined in bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry.

The Terror airs Mondays at 9 p.m. (or watch it online) – be sure to prep for the December 1 opening at Mystic Seaport of Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition.


An exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau, Canada), in partnership with Parks Canada Agency and with the National Maritime Museum (London, United Kingdom), and in collaboration with the Government of Nunavut and the Inuit Heritage Trust.