Conference Schedule

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Full Program (PDF)

Schedule at a Glance (PDF)

WEDNESDAY, 7:30-4:30PM

Registration & Information Desk available, Pavilion


WEDNESDAY, 8:30-12:00PM 

MA Half-Day Workshop: Advocacy NOW, Harbor Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Advocacy, Community Engagement & Impact, Education & Interpretation, Management & Administration

Selena Ortega-Chiolero is the Board Secretary & Advocacy Task Force Co-Leader for Museums Alaska. Selena is also the Museum Specialist for Chickaloon Native Village.

Hayley Chambers is a Board Member & Advocacy Task Force Co-Leader for Museums Alaska. Hayley is also the Senior Curator of Collections for the Ketchikan Museums.

Della Hall is the Executive Director of Museums Alaska.

Patricia Relay is an Advocacy Task Force Member of Museums Alaska. Patty is also the Executive Director for the Valdez Museum.

Senator Gary Stevens currently serves as the representative for Senate District P, and is from Kodiak, AK.

Doug Letch is Legislative Aide to Senator Stevens.

Ember Farber is the Advocacy Director at the American Alliance of Museums.

Cynthia Sweet is the Executive Director of Iowa Museum Association.

Has your institution ever struggled to secure funding or gain community support? Tired of seeing our art, cultural and humanities programs on the budget chopping block at the local, state and national level? Then it is time to join us in advocating and showing that museums matter. Many museums are facing critical times. Although many of us may want to take action, we may not know how or where to start. Join this special panel of local, state and national museum professionals as they guide attendees through an advocacy workshop that answers the Who, What, Where, When and How of advocacy. Attendees will learn more about the resources available on the Museums Alaska web-site and will leave with their own Year-Round Advocacy Plan for their institution.

WEDNESDAY, 12:00-1:00PM

Lunch on your own


WEDNESDAY, 1:00-4:30PM

MA Half-Day Workshop: Condition Reporting Alaskan Collections, Harbor Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Disaster Planning & Response, Collections, Curatorial Practice, Exhibits

Ellen Carrlee has been the objects conservator at the Alaska State Museum since 2006, was previously curator of collections and exhibits at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for five years. She is also a PhD candidate in anthropology at UAF.

Condition reporting provides a baseline for monitoring ongoing preservation of collections, planning collections care, evaluation of exhibition and lending, and responding to dissociation or theft. This training seeks to familiarize participants with condition reporting concepts, materials Alaskan collections are made of, and descriptive vocabulary for common damages. Workshop will pair up participants to practice condition reporting with prop artifacts and review the efforts as a collegial group discussion.


WEDNESDAY, 8:30-4:30PM

MA Full-Day Workshop: Engaging Audiences Through Powerful Questions, Stellar Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Community Engagement & Impact

Grace Harrington is Public Programming Manager at The Alaska Humanities Forum.

The key to hosting meaningful and inclusive conversations is asking powerful questions. This full day pre-conference training will be focused on honing question-making skills in a way that is highly interactive and experiential. This workshop is meant to explore ways to encourage dialogue, spark curiosity and strengthen relationships. Gaining practice with this will help institutions to broaden their networks and audiences.


WEDNESDAY, 5:00-6:00PM

Museums Alaska Board Meeting, Harbor Room


WEDNESDAY, beginning at 7:00PM

MA Session: The pop-up ALASKA museum, Pavilion

Organizer: Amy Phillips-Chan is the Director of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum.

The pop-up ALASKA museum will be a temporary exhibit created by 2019 MA-AHS conference participants to foster community building and shared meaning-making in the interpretation and celebration of Alaska history and culture. Participants will be able to add a photograph of a meaningful object from their collection (museum, cultural center, archives) to a large map of Alaska and/or bring a collections item for a session of lightning talks on how the object reflects their museum or community. The exhibit encourages critical conversations on changing modes of inquiry and collaboration as we strive to bring multiple perspectives into the museum space.

Note: The pop-up ALASKA museum will be introduced at this time, and will be available for conference participation throughout the remainder of the conference.


THURSDAY, 7:30-5:00PM

Registration & Information Desk available, Pavilion

THURSDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

Continental Breakfast, Pavilion

THURSDAY, 8:30-10:00AM

Welcome & MA Keynote Address: Discomfort and Renewal: Decolonizing the Abbe Museum, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Pavilion

Decolonizing practice in museum settings addresses systemic racism while dismantling colonizing and often harmful structures that museums perpetuate. Catlin-Legutko’s talk will offer a case study of the Abbe Museum’s commitment to a decolonization initiative and its evolution over six years. The Abbe Museum, located in Bar Harbor, Maine, is the first non-tribal museum to commit to decolonizing organization-wide, from governance to exhibits and everything in between. Using this case study as a lens, Catlin-Legutko will also share thinking around the museum decolonization movement that is taking root globally in museums of all types.


THURSDAY, 10:30-12:00

Morning “Mug Up”, Pavilion


THURSDAY, 10:30-12:00

AHS Session A: Russian America, KNWR

Uninhabited Alaska:  Counterfactual Reflections on the Russian Colonial Period

In 1987 James Axtell published the classic essay, “Colonial America without the Indians:  Counterfactual Reflections”, in which he used a series of heuristic thought experiments to demonstrate the central role of indigenous people in the American colonial period.  This paper applies Axtell’s methods to the context of the Russian colonial period in Alaska to examine the importance of several indigenous peoples in trade, the environment, and the general colonial project.  It argues for the determinant role of indigenous people in the Alaskan historical narrative by posing the counterfactual question:  What if Alaska had been uninhabited?

Spencer Abbe is a graduate student in environmental history at the University of Oregon.  Originally from Iowa, he recently received his MA in History from North Dakota State University after defending his thesis entitled, “Raven and the Russians: An Environmental History of Looking at Animals in Siberia, 1582-1867”.


Kodiak as a Colonial Port: Various Interpretations.

This paper follows up on a presentation on the history of colonial ports that the author made at a recent conference at Oxford University, England. It investigates how a Russian settlement in Kodiak grew from being centered around Pavlovskaya Harbor to being the capital of Colonial Alaska. Kodiak was a melting pot of different nations, social groups, and educational levels. The sociocultural climate was different from that of other Russian regions. In this colonial society, merchants and even peasants were able to achieve a very high status that was almost unimaginable in European Russia, where serfdom was then flourishing.

Alexander Petrov heads the Research Group on the History of Russian America and Russian American relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences.  He has written and edited many publications on the history of Russian America and its sale to the United States, and has taught in both Russian and American universities. 


Interactions of the Tlingit, Alutiiq, and Aleut Native Alaskans and the Russians 1784-1804 and in 2004 and 2010

The Alutiiq Natives, primarily from the Kodiak and Kenai areas, along with some Natives from other groups, including the Aleuts, accompanied the Russians to retake territory from the Tlingits between 1802 and 1804.  In 2004, the Kiks.adi [Tlingit] chose to mark the 1804 battle’s bicentennial by putting away grief and making peace. Another peace ceremony took place in 2010.  Dawn Lea Black assisted in translating a comprehensive book by Russian historian Alexander Zorin on the battles of 1802 and 1804. She will draw upon this work as well as her own research on Russian-Alutiiq-Aleut interactions for this presentation.

Dawn Lea Black co-edited and co-authored Natalia Shelikhova, Russian Oligarch of Alaska Commerce forUAF’s Historical Translation Series:.  Several of her historical research papers and presentations have also been published, and in 2019, she gave historical presentations at three universities in western Russia.  She lives in Kodiak, where she is a property manager. 


AHS Session B: Historical Preservation, Harbor Room

Ghosts in the Attic: The Falcon Joslin House

When it was constructed in 1905, the two-and-a-half story Falcon Joslin House in Fairbanks towered over the humble log cabins surrounding it, and stood as a marker of optimism for the town’s economic future. Built by railroad magnate Falcon Joslin, the wood-frame dwelling has weathered a century of boom-and-bust cycles, and has been home to numerous individuals and their families who all left their mark on the structure. Learn about living in a historical home, hear the joys and heartaches of renovation, discover how past residents continue to inspire, and find out if there really are ghosts in the attic!

Angela Schmidt is a 24-year-resident of Alaska and a film archivist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  She and her husband, Chris Miller are the current owners and caretakers of the Falcon Joslin House.


Historic House Museums in Alaska & How to Preserve Them

The Wickersham House in Fairbanks (1904-06), the Gould Cabin in Fairbanks (pre-1910), and the Oscar Anderson House in Anchorage (1915) are early historic houses that are presently being operated as historic house museums.  They provide visitors with a look at how Alaskans lived in the early years of the 20th century.  Topics covered will include early building materials and techniques, furnishings of the period, and details of the homeowners’ lives that are presented in interpretive signage.  Typical maintenance issues and major renovation problems in keeping the houses operating will be covered, as well as suggestions for grant funding and fundraising to keep them attractive and interesting to their communities and visitors.

Janet Matheson is a historical architect based in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she has lived since 1968.  She is the author of three historical resource books on Interior Alaska, and contributed to three more in Southeast Alaska.  She is committed to the preservation of historic architectural resources throughout the state.


Of the Flimsiest Construction: The Discovery Saloon Project

Before closing on purchase of Nome’s historic and then-somewhat-dilapidated Discovery Saloon building in 2002, the new owner was already applying for historic preservation funds. Thus began a decade of grant management, research and exterior restoration work for which this naive new owner had very little relevant experience or preparation. How old was this building, and when did saloon become house? What’s a dentil? Really—no insulation in the north wall? And what were the Secretary of the Interior’s standards, anyway? Come learn about the joys and discoveries, dilemmas and realities, of one sub-arctic historic preservation project. 

Carol Gales moved to Nome from the Midwest in 1996 “for one year.” She and husband Jim Dory, a house- and boat-builder who was dragged along on the Discovery’s restoration journey, wear several layers when at home during the winter.


AHS Session C: History for the Next Generation, KHM

Bristol Bay Student Filmmakers

In fall 2018, the NN Cannery History Project spearheaded the Digital Storytelling Workshop, which introduced Bristol Bay High School students to filmmaking, historical research, and museum curation. The two-week workshop, “Voices of the Past, Digital Storytelling for the Future” was led by educational filmmaker, Marie Acemah, with assistance from local designer LaRece Egli, librarian Sheila Ring and Fine Arts teacher Patricia Edel. Nineteen Bristol Bay High School students participated and produced seventeen short films reflecting cannery history. Students interviewed community-members and industry participants on a variety of topics, including Cannery Art, Women Workers, and the 1919 Flu Pandemic.

Marie Acemah is a Digital Storytelling Consultant and the Director of See Stories ( She formerly served as Curator of Education at the Kodiak History Museum. 

Katie Ringsmuth teaches history at UAA and is director of the NN Cannery History Project. She is the author of several publications about Bristol Bay canneries and fisheries.

Who Is Telling What Stories? Digital Storytelling for Equitable History

This presentation will explore how community-based digital storytelling can support the equitable documentation of history. Digital Storytelling instructor Marie Acemah and former digital storytelling student, Deborah Palileo Bitanga will share a case study in which students documented the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on Kodiak, 25 years after the spill. Deborah’s film will showcase this process. Deborah and Marie will explore the ways in which multiple perspectives can be effectively woven into film, and how youth can powerfully tackle challenging topics. The audience will walk away reflecting on the importance of whose voices are telling history, and what stories are privileged.

Marie Acemah is a Digital Storytelling Consultant and the Director of See Stories ( She formerly served as Curator of Education at the Kodiak History Museum

Deborah Palileo Bitanga is a 1.5 generation immigrant from the Philippines, who moved to Kodiak at age 12. She is the eldest of three and a recent graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.


Teaching with Historic Places: Alaska’s Matanuska Colony

In 1935, two hundred struggling Midwestern families made the long journey to southcentral Alaska’s Matanuska Valley to start a new life.  The Matanuska Colony was one of over 100 New Deal resettlement communities established by the federal government.  Much of what has been written about the Colony focuses on the colonists.  Less has been written about the more than 650 transient workers who were brought from California and Washington to build the Colony.  While many colonists participated in the construction of their farmsteads, the transient workers did the heavy lifting, playing a critical role in the construction of the Matanuska Colony

Darrell Lewis is a historian for the National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, Heritage Assistance Program.



THURSDAY, 10:30AM-12:00PM

MA Session: Copyright Basics/Copyright First Responders, Harbor Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Curatorial Practice, Management & Administration

Freya Anderson is the Acting Head of Historical Collections at the Alaska State Library.

Learn about the basics of copyright in a cultural heritage organization.  Starting with a presentation, most of the session will be devoted to a discussion of your intellectual property issues, so bring your questions and conundrums to share with the group.  We’ll end up learning about Copyright First Responders, a new group starting in Alaska, where people around the state support each other to provide information on copyright in context.


THURSDAY 10:30-11:30AM

MA Session: Increasing Accessibility and Inclusion in Public Educational Programming, Fisherman’s Hall

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Education & Interpretation, Volunteers

As an Anchorage Museum Educator, Molissa Udevitz leads a variety of interdisciplinary programs, including specific programs that seek to welcome non-traditional museum visitors.

This workshop is for anyone who develops, leads, or trains others to give tours, talks, programs, and other educational activities.  Learn about educational best practices, universal design for learning, and other techniques that can make museum programs more accessible and inclusive for learners of all abilities.  Participants will be guided through a reflection process to help them make a current educational program they give more accessible and receive feedback on their ideas from other participants.  This workshop is an opportunity to learn from one another, so come ready to share relevant experiences, questions, and advice.

THURSDAY 10:30-11:15PM

MA Session: Indigenous Participatory Collections Care, Alutiiq Museum

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Collections, Community Engagement & Impact, Curatorial Practice

Ellen Carrlee has been the objects conservator at the Alaska State Museum since 2006, was previously curator of collections and exhibits at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for five years. She is also a PhD candidate in anthropology at UAF.

How can we make space for greater participation and authority from indigenous community experts while also sharing and maintaining museum standards? Fundamentals of museum conservation ethics and guidelines will be presented, followed by participatory examples including covering skin boats, gut parka repair, Chilkat blanket analysis and repair, and spruce root basketry repair. Special attention will be given to the challenges and opportunities surrounding ceremonial use. Participants are invited to come with examples and concerns from their own communities. This topic connects to upcoming publications: “Chilkat Blanket Restoration: A Case Study in Alaska Native Authority in Museum Conservation” by Ellen Carrlee and Anna Brown Ehlers for the Alaska Journal of Anthropology, and “Reflections on Authority in the Conservation of Indigenous Objects in Museums” by Amy Tjiong and Ellen Carrlee for the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation.

THURSDAY 11:15-12:00PM

MA Session: NAGPRA in Alaska: Developing a Community of Practice, Alutiiq Museum

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Advocacy, Collections, Community Engagement & Impact, Curatorial Practice

Scott Shirar is the Archaeology Collection Manager at the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

A national effort is underway, led by the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology, to develop a network of practitioners supporting the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The goal of this effort is to identify issues that are negatively affecting NAGPRA implementation, and then to create a “community of practice” to help overcome these obstacles to successful consultation and repatriation. The goal of this session is to foster discussion about issues Alaskans face during NAGPRA implementation and develop solutions to succeed despite these issues.


THURSDAY 11:30AM-12:00PM, 1:30-2:00PM

MA Session: Navigating Grants to Alaskan Museums, Fisherman’s Hall

Track: Grants

Amy Steffian is the Chief Curator of the Alutiiq Museum.

Della Hall is the Executive Director of Museums Alaska.

Anjuli Grantham is the Curator of Statewide Services for the Alaska State Museum.

Applying for a grant can be challenging. In this session, experienced grant writers will look carefully at the applications for grants offered by the Alaska State Museum and Museums Alaska. The presenters will discuss how to approach application questions, how to develop a budget, and what attachments could be helpful. They will also explain some of the common application pitfalls and answer questions. Participants may also meet individually with the presenters to gain feedback on presenting project ideas in a grant application.

Part 1 (11:30AM-12:00PM): Art Acquisition Fund and Collections Management Fund.

Part 2 (1:30-2:00PM) : Grant-in-Aid and general grant writing tips.



State of the State Lunch, followed by AHS Advocacy Committee meeting, Pavilion

THURSDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

Alaska Historical Society annual business meeting, Harbor Room


THURSDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

MA Session: Archives Q&A: what do you need to know about dealing with archives?, KHM

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Disaster Planning & Response, Advocacy, Financial Sustainability, Collections, Community Engagement & Impact, Education & Interpretation, Curatorial Practice, Management & Administration

Arlene Schmuland is Head of Archives & Special Collections at the UAA/APU Consortium Library.

Attendees will discuss challenges with managing archival collections. The session will begin with a group discussion to elicit topics. Archivists will then lead breakout group discussions on each topic. The breakouts will last 15 minutes, after which participants may choose to stay or move to another topic group. Each question will be given one or more rounds depending on the number of questions to be discussed, level of interest, and the number of attendees. For the last 20 minutes of the session, participants will reconvene to the whole to share findings and areas of interest for further discussion and training.

THURSDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

MA Session: Recognizing Cultural Appropriation, Harbor Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion

April Counceller serves as the Executive Director of the Alutiiq Museum.

Cultural appropriation is unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, or art forms of one culture by members of another. The appropriator is often from a dominant culture, lacks understanding of the cultural form being used, and benefits financially, which is why cultural appropriation is seen as exploitative. For museums, issues of appropriation can complicate interactions with artists, businesses, and donors who vary widely in their understandings of – and concerns about – cultural appropriation. Counceller will share examples of Indigenous cultural appropriation and provide guidelines for avoiding appropriation in museum work. Scenarios of possible appropriation will be evaluated and discussed.


THURSDAY, 2:00-3:00PM

MA Session: The necessary development of the Nay’dini aa Na Kayax Hwnic Dade’tsenes (Information We Know) Project. How Chickaloon Village Traditional Council is working to protect and interpret it’s cultural resources, Fisherman’s Hall

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion

Angela Wade is the Cultural Program Manager for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council. 

Jessica Winnestaffer is the Environmental Stewardship Department Director for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council.

Chickaloon Village Traditional Council’s Environmental Department is working to protect endangered cultural sites and resources. Asserting Tribal sovereignty, in the regulatory process with state and federal governments and inserting ourselves in the cultural resources aspects development within Tribal territory. Crucial to this process is our Museum Specialist and a burgeoning collection. We are actively developing a program that will give Tribal Citizens access to aspects of their cultural heritage digitally. Partnering with local museums to ensure correct interpretation of the indigenous story of our place, we employ cultural interpreters to interact with visitors and tourists at the partner destinations.


THURSDAY, 3:00-3:30

“Mug Up”, Pavilion


THURSDAY, 3:30-5:00PM

AHS Session A:  History and Culture of Kodiak, KHM

Historic Bars of Kodiak

From its days as a fishing and cannery village, through World War II with its major influx of military personnel, to the crab fishery boom and bust of the 1970’s, Kodiak has provided more than its share of drinking establishments.  Places like the B&B, Club Casino, Ships Tavern, and Tony’s thrived with the influx of hard-working men.  The 1964 earthquake sent ten separate waves that flooded the downtown area, washing many buildings off of their foundations.  This presentation will provide a historical synopsis of some of the most famous bars of Kodiak from the pre and post-earthquake years.

Doug Vandegraft is a former Alaskan and the author of A Guide to the Notorious Bars of Alaska, now in its second edition.  He retired in 2018 after working 35 years as a Cartographer for the federal government.


The Latter-day Saints of Kodiak

This lecture highlights the social history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kodiak from its beginnings to the present (1943-2019). It commences with the origin of the first Church branch (ecclesiastical unit) at Fort Greely during World War II. It is based upon rich primary sources such as government records, letters, journals, and many oral history interviews to capture the inter-workings of the Latter-day Saints as well as their connection with the Kodiak community. It will also be augmented with many images to provide an attractive power point presentation for viewers to enjoy.

 Fred E. Woods is a professor at Brigham Young University and is the author and documentary film producer of Melting the Ice: A History of Latter-day Saints in Alaska (2018). He has been a visiting professor at several universities and has lectured extensively in the United States and internationally.

Labor of the Hands, Tongue, and Psyche of 1.5 Generation Filipina Immigrants in Kodiak Island

This presentation will illuminate the overlooked lived experiences of 1.5 generation immigrants, people who immigrate to another country as a child or adolescent.  Through Deborah’s artwork and Deneila’s collaborative case study research, these presenters will share their experiences growing up in the Philippines and moving to Kodiak Island to reunite with their parents who are low-wage cannery laborers. They will illuminate the struggles and the joys of learning a new language, culture, and facing various forms of oppression, all while working to make the American Dream a reality for themselves and their families in Alaska and the Philippines.

Deborah Palileo Bitanga is a 1.5 generation immigrant from the Philippines, who moved to Kodiak at age 12. She is the eldest of three and a recent graduate of Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

Deneila Beltran is a 1.5 generation immigrant from the Philippines, who moved to Kodiak at age 16. She is currently a sophomore at Kodiak College and has a younger brother.

AHS Session B: Bristol Bay: Disaster and Resiliency, Harbor Room

The Spanish Influenza Pandemic Hits Bristol Bay

In spring 1919, the Spanish Influenza Pandemic arrive at Bristol Bay, devastating the population. The human disaster sparked action by the Alaska Packers Association, whose cannery hospital cared for the sick and orphaned. In this two part presentation, Tim Troll will discuss how the flu impacted the “west side” of Bristol Bay, the US government’s response and the creation of the orphanage at Kanakanak, while Katie Ringsmuth will focus on the “east side” and APA’s response to the crisis at the Diamond NN cannery at South Naknek. The epidemic transformed Bristol Bay’s demographics, population centers, and economic activities.

Tim Troll is an attorney, AHS board member and Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust.

Katie Ringsmuth teaches history at UAA and is director of the NN Cannery History Project. She is the author of several publications about Bristol Bay canneries and fisheries.


Bristol Bay Salmon Faces its First Collapse

The human tragedy of the Spanish Influenza pandemic in Bristol Bay was soon followed by the first-ever collapse of its valuable salmon runs. For a region dependent on salmon, then a largely unregulated industry, the run failure challenged the fishing industry, its managers, scientists, politicians, and inspired local residents interested in home rule. The 1919 salmon disaster sparked a debate that that spanned several years, was elevated to Congress and the White House, and led to a new regulatory regime intended to conserve the salmon and heightened Alaskans’ desire for statehood.

Bob King is a former Dillingham journalist who worked on Alaska fishery issues in both state and federal government and, now retired, lives in Juneau where he continues to write about fish.


AHS Session C: Films and Music, KNWR

Sharing History through Song

Juneau folk musician Annie Bartholomew will perform selections from her new songwriting project inspired by narratives of women during the Klondike Gold Rush. Named after Dawson City’s Red Light district, “Sisters of White Chapel” brings to light the lesser-known histories of women in the Yukon and Alaska during the turn of the century. From the spinsters to dance hall queens, these songs celebrate the struggle and sacrifice made by those who risked safety and virtue for a chance of a better life. Bartholomew will discuss opportunities for academics to reach new audiences through artistic partnership and non-traditional presentation methods.

Annie Bartholomew is an Alaskan songwriter and the March 2019 Artist in Residence at the Jenni House in Whitehorse, YT. She works as an Arts & Culture Producer at KTOO Public Media in Juneau.

THURSDAY, 3:30-5:00PM

MA Session: Museums Alaska Annual Meeting, Pavilion


THURSDAY, 5:00-6:00

Dinner on your own


THURSDAY, 5:00-6:00

Alaska Historical Society Board Meeting, Stellar Room


THURSDAY, 6:00-8:00PM

Roving Reception, Various Locations


FRIDAY, 7:30-5:00PM

Registration & Information Desk available, Pavilion

FRIDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

Continental Breakfast, Pavilion

FRIDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

Stretch with Veronica Costa Bolton, 100th Monkey Yoga

FRIDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

AHS Roundtable: Advocacy and Alaska Archives, Stellar Room

FRIDAY, 8:30-10:00AM

Welcome & AHS Keynote: Reading Between the Lines of Alphonse Pinart’s Travel Journals from 1871-72, Dr. Sven Haakanson, Jr., Pavilion

Reading between the lines of Alphonse Pinart’s travel journals from 1871-72 allows us to relearn traditional seascape routes from the Aleutians to Kodiak. In 2017 I retraced part of Pinart’s route and realized the four Unangax^ men who brought him by kayak to Kodiak were following traditional seascape routes that have never been discussed before. How can we use past journals to retrace lost sea-routes for our communities to use once again?

FRIDAY, 10:30AM-12:00PM

Morning “Mug Up”, Pavilion


FRIDAY, 10:30AM-12:00PM

AHS Session A: World War II Aleutian Campaign, Fisherman’s Hall

History and Protection of the Funter Bay Aleut Cemetery

The Unangax of many villages were relocated to Southeast Alaska during World War II.  It is a tragic story of many Aleuts dying in Southeast Alaska in these deplorable conditions.  The Funter Bay Cannery and mining operation was one such historic location.  Today the descendants of St. Paul, St. George, and the  non-profit, Friends of Admiralty are working with the State of Alaska to protect the historic cemetery.

Daniel Monteith has been an anthropology professor at the University of Alaska Southeast for twenty years.  He is presently the President of the Board of Directors for Friends of Admiralty.


Facing Divergent Memories of the Aleutian Campaign of WWII

The Aleutian WWII NHA has two main themes: the military campaign of WWII, and the experience of the Unangax (Aleuts) who were forced to leave their homes and relocate to Southeast Alaska.  Residents of one village were taken as prisoners to Japan, where many died. The veterans who fought in the Aleutians have very different perspectives and memories from the Unangax evacuees and prisoners.  Honoring the Japanese perspective on the Aleutian Campaign has also been difficult. This paper addresses the challenges of implementing a program that respectfully intertwines the experiences of Unangax, American veterans, and the descendants of Japanese soldiers.

Rachel Mason is the Senior Cultural Anthropologist for the National Park Service, Alaska Region and Program Manager of the Aleutian WWII National Historic Area.  She has worked for many years in Alaska and has special ties to Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands.


Dashiell Hammett’s Alaska

Well into his 40s, the famous author and activist, Dashiell Hammett, volunteered to serve in the United States Army during World War II. Long known as a political radical and an advocate of civil rights, labor rights, and various other left-wing causes, the Army agreed to his enlistment but deployed him with the Signal Corps to the Aleutians. Here, Hammett served through the war and worked with black troops to integrate a division of the Army several years before Harry Truman officially desegregated the military. This paper explores the famous writer’s time in Alaska and makes some broader claims about its significance.

Ian Hartman is an associate professor of history at the University of Alaska Anchorage where he teaches courses on 19th and 20th century U.S. History and researches topics related to public policy and the American West. In partnership with the National Park Service, he is completing a book on African American history in Alaska.


AHS Session B: Policy Changes and Reforms, KHM

“An Opportunity Unembarassed:” Alaska and the Indian Reform Movement, 1867-1886

In 1886, the Indian Reform Movement accomplished the impossible: it had convinced Henry Teller, Secretary of Interior, to place Alaska Natives under the administration of the Bureau of Education, avoiding the influence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. My paper is an examination of all that led to Teller’s decision; it is a history of the ways in which the Indian Reform Movement agitated in defense of the idea that newly-purchased Alaska represented the chance to introduce a new character of Native-white relations in the United States. Their success inaugurated the exceptional history of Alaska Natives, which continues today.

Ian Halter is a second-year PhD student at the University of Oregon. He has an M.A. in History from the College of William & Mary (2018), and his research, in broad strokes, concerns the Indigenous experience of the sale of Russian America as well as the nearly two decades of military occupation and federal neglect which followed.


Alaska’s Oil Spill Response Planning Standard: History and Legislative Intent

After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, 1989-1990 saw huge changes in law and cultural expectation around how oil companies should prevent or respond to spills. At the time, the new laws represented significant compromise among industry, regulators, environmentalists, and impacted citizens. Thirty years later, the legislative intent behind these “new” standards risks being lost. The authors of these laws anticipated complacency and hoped to create a standard that could not be later reduced. Primary sources and interviews with key individuals document the process so that modern regulators can remember the significant compromise and intention that formed state bill HB567.

Betsi Oliver is Outreach Coordinator for Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, a non-profit that represents citizens in promoting the environmentally safe operation of the Alyeska terminal and associated tankers. Her presentation is based on a reports authored for the Council by Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC.


AHS Session C: Waterways, Alutiiq Museum

Skin, Bark, and Wood: Indigenous Watercraft Heritage of Alaska

The UA Museum of the North received $60,000 from the NEH this year to host two workshops focusing on its Indigenous watercraft collection. This collection includes seventeen (17) full-sized Alaska Native hand-made boats constructed from local materials, and ninety-seven (97) miniature model boats made from the same materials. This paper will summarize elements of this massive collection, including a birch bark canoe fragment (radiocarbon dated to 1833-1842) acquired in the last year, and discuss the differences between the skin boats, that Alaska is most famous for, with the equally important but lesser known wood and bark boats.

Angela Linn is the Senior Collections Manager of Ethnology and History at the UA Museum of the North and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Arctic and Northern Studies department at UAF. Her research focus includes the past, present, and future of Alaska’s museums.


The Consumerization of Alaska’s Rivers

Narratives of river travel in Alaska have been dominated by stories of mining, hunting, and fishing trips. But as new types of boats like outboard- and jet-powered boats and inflatable rafts were introduced, the nature of river travel changed. These new boats helped make many of Alaska’s rivers more navigable, and their users became consumers of the state’s rapids, landscapes, and wildlife as much as its minerals, fish, and game. Rivers became more desirable destinations in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with rafters, wilderness travelers, and other adventure seekers less focused on resource extraction and more focused on the experience of the Last Frontier. 

Mark Rice received his Doctorate from Ohio State University, his Master’s degree from Ohio University, and his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Toronto. He currently works for the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology in Anchorage, AK.


FRIDAY, 10:30-12:00

MA Session: Alaska Museums: Where are We Now? Where are We Heading?, Harbor Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Advocacy, Leadership, Financial Sustainability, Community Engagement & Impact, Management & Administration

Anjuli Grantham is the Curator of Statewide Services at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau.

Della Hall is the Executive Director of Museums Alaska.

Patience Frederiksen is Director of the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums.

What is the current state of Alaska’s museum field? What changes do we desire and foresee? What data and resources do we need to advance the field towards a vibrant, equitable, and sustainable future? This session will pose these questions and use the World Café model to elicit ideas and opinions from those who are present. The conversations will help guide the planning and execution of the 2020 Alaska Museum Survey, a comprehensive survey of the Alaska museum field conducted every 10 years by the Alaska State Museum.


FRIDAY, 10:30-12:00

MA Session: Core Ideology: Foraker’s Sustainability Model, Stellar Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Boards & Leadership, Organizational Development

Monica Garcia Itchoak is Lead Capacity Builder at The Foraker Group.

Do you wonder where to focus your efforts to strengthen your mission? Are you clear about how your strengths can be used to address your challenges? Our Sustainability Roadmap is a tool to ask big questions about your envisioned future as an organization. Based on the Foraker Nonprofit Sustainability Model, our introduction is designed to assist boards, executive directors, and staff to think strategically about who you are and where are you going.  In this workshop, we will walk through each lens of the sustainability model and you will leave with a better understanding of what questions you should be asking.  This open space platform is designed for us to have a deeper conversation about your organization’s purpose and values.


FRIDAY, 10:30-12:00

MA Session: Outside-In: Changing Roles, Shifting Goals, KNWR

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Advocacy, Collections, Community Engagement & Impact, Education & Interpretation, Curatorial Practice, Exhibits

Dawn Biddison is a museum specialist for the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum office who works on projects in collaboration with Alaska Native elders, artists, culture bearers and community members.

Rochelle Adams (Gwich’in Athabascan) is the Indigenous Engagement Coordinator with Native Peoples Action. She is an ongoing Gwich’in language learner and curriculum developer with an educational background in linguistics and is an artist who primarily creates jewelry and regalia using traditional Athabascan and contemporary materials.

Nadia Jackinsky-Sethi (Alutiiq) is a Program Director at The CIRI Foundation where she conducts research and oversees a grant program supporting Alaska Native arts and cultures

Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna Athabascan) is the Curator of Contemporary Indigenous Art and Culture at the Anchorage Museum and is an artist who works in painting, drawing, collage, screen-printing and traditional Athabascan materials.

Join a conversation with three Alaska Native cultural advocates to discuss issues of underrepresentation, inclusivity and institutional change based on insights from specific cultural heritage projects. Learn about models for successfully empowering individuals, communities and staff when working outside of and within museums and organizations, and for fostering change across institutional roles. Share your work challenges for constructive advice.


FRIDAY, 12:00PM – Suffrage Lunch, KNWR


FRIDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

AHS Session A: Canadian Military in Alaska, Fisherman’s Hall

The RCAF in the Aleutian Campaign of World War II  

June 3-4, 1942, just one day before Midway and under a veil of ever-present Aleutian fog, the Japanese Imperial Navy bombed Dutch Harbor.   At the same time, two RCAF squadrons, and a third to follow, were already making the 1700-mile journey to the Aleutians at the urgent request of the US Army Air Force for air support.  The arrival of the Royal Canadian Air Force in Alaska meant that Canadians would provide one third of the air strength over the Northern skies. This paper examines military and government reports, diaries, photos, and letters to construct a narrative of how this partnership unfolded.  

Karen Abel’s grandfather was a WWII fighter pilot with the RCAF 111 (F) Squadron, and she has made it her mission to retrace his wartime footsteps and share the stories of those who served in the Aleutian Campaign. She co-leads a WWII history expedition through the Aleutian Islands and works with several agencies in Alaska on Aleutian Campaign related projects.


The RCAF in Alaska: How History Informs Today’s NORAD Fight

The hypothesis for this presentation is the history the RCAF has had in conducting joint

operations with the US in Alaska has directly informed how NORAD fights today. I will use several examples of how history has directly informed our concept of operations in use by NORAD today. These examples will range from those learned during the Aleutian Campaign in WWII, as well as US-Canadian Operations under the NORAD command architecture throughout the Cold War.

Brigadier General Scott Clancy is a helicopter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force, with extensive experience in planning and executing international operations for the Canadian Armed Forces. He is currently stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as  Deputy Commander of the Alaska NORAD Region.


AHS Session B: Unusual People in Unusual Places, Stellar Room

“On a Hill Above a Northern River”: John Haines’s Homestead

In 1948 John Haines staked a 160-acre homestead on the Richardson Highway above the Tanana River. Haines lived at the homestead over two lengthy blocks of time—1954 to 1969, and 1980 to 1993. Here, he found his voice as a poet; and this place, more so than almost any other non-Native place in Alaska, is imbued with meaning because John Haines made it so. This paper will explore Haines’s comings and leavings and the lasting mark he left on the land, making it unlike any other 160 acres in Alaska.

Maureen Long teaches English literature and composition at Yukon College, Whitehorse. Currently, she is a PhD student at UAF in Arctic and Northern Studies, focusing on literature and history of the Canadian North and Alaska.


Frank’s Follies: The Life, Times and Misadventures of Pilot Frank Dorbandt

Early Alaska aviator Frank Dorbandt pioneered Alaska’s skyways along with Ben Eielson, Joe Crosson and Noel Wien; yet lists of these trailblazers often omit Dorbandt. Newspapers cast him as a daring and skilled aviator, a hero and ladies’ man who occasionally ran afoul of the law. Historical accounts, written by or about those he worked with, portray Dorbandt as a rash and reckless self-promoter responsible (in part) for fellow pilot Eielson’s death. This presentation offers a closer examination of the divisive pilot’s life and career to answer the question: Frank Dorbandt, hero, scoundrel, or both?

Leanna Prax Williams is a master’s candidate in the UAF Arctic & Northern Studies program, where her research focuses on Alaska and Arctic aviation history. She serves on the board of Fairbanks’ Pioneer Air Museum.



The Seward Statue and the Seward “Shame Pole”: Passion and Evidence in Historical Interpretation 

The radically different perspectives in which Alaskan history can be interpreted were clearly on display in 2017 during the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase, which witnessed both the unveiling of the Seward Statue in Juneau and the Seward “Shame Pole” in Saxman. This paper will examine the controversies that involved both of these commemorations and what they say about the state of Alaskan history. It will also evaluate the nature of reliable and unreliable historical evidence, and the ways in which presentism tends to invariably distort our visions of the past  

Terrence Cole is a retired Professor of History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 


AHS Session C: Exploration, Alutiiq Museum

Woman of Ounalashka

In the summer of 1778, on his third voyage of discovery, Captain Cook’s anchored his ship “Endeavor,” at Unalaska Island. On a foray ashore, the ship’s artist, John Webber, sketched a beautiful young woman from a nearby Unangan village. Two hundred and twenty years later, after resurfacing in Australia, the drawing was purchased by the Museum of the Aleutians in Dutch Harbor. It now resides just a few miles from where it was created. The presentation will discuss the circumstances of Cook’s visit to Unalaska, and the cultural significance of this remarkable portrait, created in a historically important moment. 

Toby Sullivan is Executive Director of Kodiak Maritime Museum.


At the Corner of Venia Minor and Kandalehin Streets

Venia Minor Street and Kandalehin Street, located on St. Paul Island, are both the result of name misspellings. Venia Minor is someone’s version of Veniaminov, while Kandalehin seems to be a misreading of Bendeleben, named after Baron Otto Von Bendeleben.  Bendeleben, an engineer, led an expedition in 1865-1867 to develop a telegraph route.  He has been credited with finding gold on the Seward Peninsula during this expedition, but was only able to exploit this find later in the century. This presentation tells about the hardships and turns of fortune the expedition encountered while exploring Russian America just before the U.S. purchase.

Gary Paulus is an Alaska resident, an Aleut, and a member of the Aleut Community of St. Paul; although he was born in Pennsylvania he has spent considerable time on St. Paul Island. As a surveyor and engineer, he has worked in and visited most of Alaska in the last thirty years.

FRIDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

MA Session: Nunalleq, Stories from the Village of Our Ancestors: Co-designing a multi-vocal educational resource based on an archaeological excavation in Quinhagak, AK, KNWR

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Community Engagement & Impact, Education & Interpretation

Dr Alice Watterson is an archaeologist and digital artist based at the 3DVisLab, University of Dundee, Scotland. She has been working with the Nunalleq Project in Quinhagak for the past 2.5 years leading development of the educational resource.

In 2017 the Nunalleq Project initiated the co-design of a digital educational resource for schoolchildren in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region that curates the story of the archaeological excavations in a way which is inclusive of Yup’ik ways of knowing. Co-creating resource content with the community in Quinhagak revealed the diverse ways in which people connect to the past. In particular, the project made space for a younger generation of Yup’ik who are forging contemporary relationships with the archaeology of Nunalleq through traditional dance, art and shared experience. This paper explores co-design as a means of illuminating the different processes of interpretation with the aim of better understanding how the methods we use frame the knowledge we create.

FRIDAY, 1:30-3:00PM, 3:30-5:00PM

MA Session: Inclusive & Accessible: Providing Supports for Individuals with Autism & other Low-Incidence Disabilities in a Museum Setting, Stellar Room

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Education & Interpretation

Aimee Smith is Autism Resource Specialist & Program Coordinator at the Alaska Autism Resource Center.

How do we make ever-changing museum environments accessible and inclusive of individuals with autism, sensory needs & other low-incidence disabilities? This presentation will focus on 3 ways to build inclusivity. Come prepared to be interactive! Based partially on collaborative work between the AARC and Anchorage Museum.

Part 1 (1:30-3:00PM): The first session will focus on adapting the environment with an emphasis on supporting independence and sensory needs.

Part 2 (3:30-5:00PM): The second session will focus on adapting instruction in educational workshops and supports for managing/preventing unexpected behaviors.

FRIDAY, 1:30AM-3:00PM, 3:30-5:00PM

MA Session: From Storehouse to Storyhouse; the Evolution of the Baranov Museum to the Kodiak History Museum, KHM

Track: Collections, Community Engagement & Impact, Education & Interpretation, Management & Administration, Exhibits

Sarah Asper-Smith is Owner and Designer at ExhibitAK.

Christine Carpenter is Designer and Project Manager at ExhibitAK.

Anjuli Grantham is former Curator and Developer at Kodiak History Museum.

Sarah Harrington is Director at Kodiak History Museum.

Margaret Greutert is Collections Manager at Kodiak History Museum.

Sharity Sommer is Program Officer at Rasmuson Foundation.

More than eight years ago, we began a project to redesign the permanent exhibits at the Baranov Museum (now the Kodiak History Museum). Over two sessions, presenters will share tips and experiences, and lead a discussion to help you embrace these tools for your next big project.

Part 1(1:30AM-3:00PM): Interpretation, Collections and Design

Let’s get technical. How do you plan for, manage and ensure continuity in a project like this that is likely to last for years? What are good practices for research and including community stakeholders in the design process? Where do the objects go during a transition? And how about managing a project this large with limited resources?

Part 2 (3:30-5:00PM): Messaging and Partnerships

The big picture. Who are the partners to help us make this happen? How do we work with the community to make sure they see you and your mission, especially as it evolves? How do you implement a successful capital campaign? How do you aid the in changing the perception of the change at your museum?


FRIDAY 3:00-3:30PM

“Mug Up”, Pavilion

FRIDAY 3:30-5:00PM

AHS Session A: Race and Ethnicity, Fisherman’s Hall

Untold Stories: Race, Ethnicity and the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rushes

Gold Rush ethnohistories focus exclusively on miners and entrepreneurs of Euro-American and European ethnic descent. Hidden among the tens of thousands that stampeded north in search of gold and the freedom of the frontier are African-American, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and other non-white ethnic groups. This paper examines intersections of race, ethnicity, occupation and social networks to illuminate some of these untold stories.

Tamara Holman is an archaeologist specializing in historical archaeology and cultural resource management. Ms. Holman is currently researching a creative non-fiction novel originating from her research on historic gold mining in the Fairbanks Mining District.


The Davis Case: The Last Potlatch, “Old Quarrels,” and School Segregation in Sitka

In May 1906 eighteen residents of Sitka, Alaska testified in a federal school integration case, Davis et al. v. Sitka School Board. The 1905 Nelson Act allowed children “of mixed blood” and “leading a civilized life,” to attend the Territorial or “white” school. This case was over the exclusion of certain “mixed blood” children. In Sitka in 1906, nearly the entire town was “mixed blood.” The effort to define “Natives” so they could be excluded from the “white” school, where the “white” students are as “Native” as the “Natives,” reveals otherwise hidden fault lines of race and class.

Rebecca Poulson is an artist in Sitka, who has been working to record and to engage the public with Sitka’s rich history. She is active in historic preservation, publishes a calendar of art and poetry, works with children in the arts, and is on the board of the AHS and a member of the Alaska Historical Commission.


Race, Tunnel Vision, and Injustice: The Trial of Austin Nelson

In 1946, a white grocer named Jim Ellen was murdered in his store in Juneau. Two hours after the discovery of the murder, police arrested Austin Nelson, one of the few African-American men in Juneau, for the crime. He was tried and executed. Newly-obtained documents suggest, however, that Nelson was framed by false testimony, because the police and prosecution forces made a fast decision that Nelson was the killer and disregarded evidence that led in other directions. Analysis of the case indicates that racial bias fueled “tunnel vision” in the institutional response to crime.

Averil Lerman is an attorney and legal historian who is writing a book about the trials of the last two men hanged in the Territory of Alaska, based on extensive research. She has served on the board of the Alaska Historical Society for five years, and is the current president.


AHS Session B:  Cold War, Alutiiq Museum

Alaska’s Nuclear Legacy

This presentation discusses the social geography of Alaska in the nuclear age Alaska. We will explore some of the cognitive frameworks regarding Alaska’s nuclear past and future, including conflicting perspectives regarding nuclear test sites, radioactive waste repositories, nuclear reactor locations in Alaska. Featured are fieldwork photos by Ted Merrell, a longtime Alaska fish biologist, DEW Line geodata, and interviews.

Anastasia Tarmann is an Historical Collections librarian at the Alaska State Library, Archives, & Museum in Juneau. She is Director of the Alaska Newspaper Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress, and is a doctoral student of Anthropology at the University of Alaska.

Shelby Surdyk grew up in Skagway, Alaska and graduated from UAF in 2015. After obtaining her M.S. in Environmental Sciences at the American University of Beirut in 2018 on the subject of the public health impacts of depleted uranium in Iraq, she returned to Alaska, where she lives in Juneau and is working with Veterans For Peace on a project to engage Alaskan youth in a conversation about the state’s nuclear past and future.


AHS Session C: National Parks in Alaska, Stellar Room

Overused, Overlooked, and Overrun – Post-World War II Changes to Alaska’s National Parks

With the nation focused on World War II, National Park Service sites were largely neglected, leaving them unprepared for the influx of postwar visitors with their newly acquired leisure time and automobiles.  In response, Mission 66, a ten-year (1956-1966) park development program funded modernization projects across the system – including roads, staff housing, and visitor centers. A criticism of Mission 66 was that it prioritized development too rapidly without a look at potential impacts. In Alaska, this resulted in a conflict between Senator Ernest Gruening and the Sierra Club that halted all road development across the system.

Heather Feil earned a B.A. in History and Anthropology from Montclair State University and an M.A. in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design. She has been an Architectural Historian for the NPS Alaska Regional Office since 2010 and has traveled to many park sites in Alaska striving to preserve our rich cultural history through the built environment. 

For the Love of Freedom: Miners, Trappers, Hunting Guides and Homesteaders in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

The Wrangell‐St. Elias region has a rich history of human occupation, going back more than 10,000 years, including Ahtna, Upper Tanana, Eyak and Tlingit. Non‐Native use began in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most came with a specific purpose or occupation in mind. Those who stayed were self-sufficient and adaptable and often engaged in multiple jobs in order to support themselves in this place they had come to love. They had various reasons for coming and for staying, but their stories demonstrate a common love of freedom that made this part of Alaska attractive.

Karen Brewster is a research associate with Project Jukebox and the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has been conducting oral history interviews across Alaska for nearly thirty years, and is the author of three life history books about pioneering Alaskans.

Barbara Cellarius is a cultural anthropologist at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Copper Center, where she works on cultural, historical, and subsistence projects.

FRIDAY, 3:30-5:00PM

MA Session: Spirit and Vision at IAIA: An Indigenous Approach to the Field of Museum Studies, KNWR

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, Advocacy, Collections, Community Engagement & Impact, Education & Interpretation, Curatorial Practice, Exhibits

Selena Ortega-Chiolero is the Museum Specialist with Chickaloon Village Traditional Council.

Bethany Buckingham-Follett is the Curator at the Wasilla Museum.

Felipe Estudillo Colón is an Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Museum Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Learn more about the indigenous approaches being offered in the field of Museum Studies and how they offer an alternative perspective to how museum professionals approach their work. This session will allow attendees to engage in a conversation with two current Alaska museum professionals enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museums Studies on-line certification program and an IAIA Museum Studies Professor. Session content will include a description of the program, an analysis of how it differs from traditional Museum Studies programs and its affects on how the professionals now engage with their organization, their collections, and exhibits.

FRIDAY 6:00-9:00PM

Awards Banquet, Pavilion



Tour of Historic Kodiak Bars, Various Locations


Silent Auction Ends


SATURDAY, 8:00-1:00PM

Registration & Information Desk available, Pavilion

SATURDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

Continental Breakfast, Pavilion

FRIDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

AHS Roundtable: Special Initiatives (Women’s Suffrage, ANCSA), Stellar Room



AHS Session A: Assimilation and Survival, Stellar Room

The Rise of English-only Language Policies in Alaska

This paper examines the motives and strategies for English-only language policies in Alaska from 1877, when the first American mission school opened, to 1931, when educational policy and oversight shifted significantly. Drawing on government reports, archival documents, retrospective accounts, and teaching materials, I examine rationales for English-only policies. I then examine how the policies were disseminated, enacted, enforced, and resisted. The language policies enacted in the early American school system created longstanding legacies of language ideology that continue to shape people’s lives today.

Jennifer C. Stone’s current research investigates the history of the English language, as well as language diversity more broadly, in Alaska. As a Professor of English at UAA, she looks forward to an interdisciplinary conversation with historians from Alaska.


Tongue Lashing

In the early 1900s, the first English-speaking school began in the tiny Kenai Peninsula village of Ninilchik, a small community established a half-century earlier by the Russian American Company for its pensioners and their Native or Creole wives and children. With the school and its teachers came a number of changes for the villagers, among them the strict English-only rule for students. What were these youngsters to do? And how would this impact them in the years to come? My Uncle George Jackinsky’s writings and my own father’s experience offer insights into what happened when their Russian-speaking world collided with English.

McKibben Jackinsky’s great-great-great grandparents, Grigorii Kvasnikoff and Mavra Rastorguev, were among the first settlers in Ninilchik, arriving in 1847. She is a retired journalist who continues to freelance for Alaska publications, had her first book published in 2016, and is currently at work on a second book based on her Uncle George’s writings.


Survivance: Past and Continuous Trauma and Resistance in Southeast Alaska

Alaska history is usually told as a narrative sprinkled with a few Alaska Native moments to accentuate, augment, or supplement the hardships and deeds of settlers. This presentation will outline a continuous history of claims to the right of succession and examples of continuous counter-resistance. Such claims often include an historical subtext of erasure for native peoples; whether as willing participants in their own inevitable subjugation or disappearance, or as inconvenient and tragic obstacles to American colonization of Alaska. Both tendencies produce false narratives that have continued to be utilized by Euro-American histories and historians to standardize colonial and neocolonial historiographies.

Anastasia Tarmann is an Historical Collections librarian at the Alaska State Library, Archives, & Museum in Juneau. She is Director of the Alaska Newspaper Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress, and is a doctoral student of Anthropology at the University of Alaska.


AHS Session B: Resources and Commercial Opportunity, KHM

Soft Gold: Sea Otters in Alaska History

Alaska became an historical place due to sea otters and the frenzy their luxuriant pelts ignited centuries ago.  Sea otters originally ranged the North Pacific from Japan to Mexico. When Bering’s voyage put Alaska on the map, sea otters, rather than land, inspired Siberian adventurers to invade the New World.  Inept at killing marine mammals, Russians conscripted coastal Native hunters: Aleuts and Sugpiat.  Enormous kayak flotillas ranged as far as southern California.  This talk reviews how Russians exploited otters and Natives, the resource’s decimation, and how this fur trade influenced ecology, Alaskans, the Russian American Company, and global commerce.

Shana Loshbaugh has lived in Alaska for 38 years, mostly on the Kenai Peninsula and in Fairbanks, where she earned an interdisciplinary PhD in environmental history at UAF.  Her past experiences include directing the 2017 local history conference on the Kenai and washing sea otters after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.


A History of a Bristol Bay Cannery

Libby’s Koggiung salmon cannery was the quintessential Bristol Bay salmon cannery during its heyday, circa 1917-1957. It was the second cannery in Alaska to operate with a nearly entire native Alaska work force in 1947. Each summer a fleet of 80 double-ender sailboats fished for the cannery, generally catching over 2 million salmon and canning about 150,000 cases of salmon per season. Consolidation of the salmon industry caused Libby’s Koggiung to stop canning in 1957 and the plant burned in 1962. It is now used as a summer set net fishing camp and is being battered by rising sea levels.

John Branson is the historian at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. He wrote the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for a Bristol Bay double-ender that fished at Libby’s Koggiung and is now at Port Alsworth.


When “Sitka Ice” Was King

In the 1850s, Californians flush with cash from the recent gold rush were willing to pay to cool down.  Imported ice from New England was arriving in San Francisco, but some local entrepreneurs hatched a scheme to cut the transportation time (and therefore the cost) by going to the Russian American port of Sitka.  “Ice! Ice! Ice!” cried newspaper advertisements, and people lined up at the wharf to sample the exotic pleasure of cold, clear Alaskan ice.  For three decades, ice traders harvesting in Sitka and Kodiak competed with Boston’s “Ice King” Frederic Tudor for dominance of the Pacific ice industry.    

Chris Allan is a board member of Alaska Historical Society and works in Fairbanks as a historian for the National Park Service.


AHS Session CJapanese Americans in Alaska, Harbor Room

Place Naming in Race: History of Japanese Alaskans in Local Perspectives

This paper will explore the history of Japanese immigrants who arrived in Alaska around the 1890s and early 1900s, and how local Alaskans interacted with these Japanese. Multiple place names including “Jap” (Japanese) reflect how Alaskans perceived Japanese, using a common racial term that was used before and during World War II. However, some local Alaska Natives remember that their parents and grandparents traded goods and established friendship with, and even married Japanese. Sharing some common features and speaking English as their second languages, some Japanese Alaskan history remains in local Alaskan’s memories.

Yoko Kugo is a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research focus is the study of Central Yup’ik


Tabi wo suru ki or Traveling Tree: Hoshino Michio’s Alaska, 1973-1996

His life tragically cut short by a bear attack in 1996, Hoshino Michio, the famed Japanese photographer, captured images of Alaska for nearly 20 years. Despite his untimely death, Michio published well over 50 photobooks and essays about Alaska in both Japanese and English. The majority of Michio’s work however remains untranslated for English speaking audiences. This presentation highlights some of these works recently translated by the presenter and considers Michio’s life and work from a historical perspective, paying special attention to his transition from a wildlife photographer to a documentarian of Alaskan people and culture.

Taiyo Itoh is a math, science, and Japanese teacher originally from Saitama, Japan. He has been studying multicultural education as a master’s student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Pierce A. Bateman is a historian who writes about Alaska and the North Pacific. He currently works as a historian for the U.S. Army at Fort Wainwright.


Embracing Japan: Japanese Business in Post-World War II Alaska

In 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American, was brutally murdered by two white autoworkers in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The autoworkers killed Chin because they believed he was Japanese, the group they thought was taking away their jobs in the auto industry. Chin’s murder represents a watershed moment of anti-Japanese business sentiment present in post-WWII America. This sentiment, however, was not widespread in Alaska. Alaskan entrepreneurs were keenly aware that Alaska had the resources that Japan needed and that Japan had the industrial economy Alaska wanted. This presentation explores this economic dynamic and Japanese-Alaska business relationships in post-WWII Alaska.

Pierce A. Bateman is historian who writes about Alaska and the North Pacific. He currently works as a historian for the U.S. Army at Fort Wainwright.


SATURDAY, 9:00-10:00

Museums Alaska Board Meeting, Pavilion


SATURDAY, 10:30-11:30AM

Morning “Mug Up”, Pavilion


SATURDAY, 10:30-11:30AM

Joint MA/AHS Session: Asking the Uncomfortable Questions, Pavilion

Track: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion

Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, MA Keynote Speaker

Sven Haakanson, AHS Keynote Speaker

During this capstone session, Sven Haakanson and Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko will engage in a moderated conversation about museums and their relationship to Indigenous communities. Both speakers actively develop museum practice designed to create open and collaborative engagement with communities. This approach is designed to change the narrative to one of mutual respect rather than the traditional narrative written by dominant society. During this session they will dive into difficult and uncomfortable questions that range from leading organization change to dismantling institutional racism. During this conversation they will invite attendees to engage in the dialogue and share practical examples that attendees can apply in their museums.


SATURDAY, 11:30AM-12:00PM

Closing Comments, Pavilion