Conference Schedule

Click here for Museums Alaska’s Wednesday schedule as a PDF.


WEDNESDAY, 8:30-12:00PM

MA Half-Day Workshop: Collections as Springboards for Community Conversation, Cultural Center

Megan Cacciola, Director of Public Programming, Alaska Humanities Forum

Every object, every film, every work of art in a museum can act as a springboard for meaningful community conversation in which participants discover personal connections to collections and to one another. This half-day workshop will allow participants to partake in a model conversation and learn the important design elements for satisfying community conversation.


WEDNESDAY, 8:30-4:30PM

MA Full-Day Workshop: Care of Clothing and Textiles, Museum Lab

Sarah Owens, Conservator, Anchorage Museum

This workshop provides an opportunity to meet with a Textile Conservator and discuss how to identify damage and prevent its future occurrence. The first half of the workshop will include: materials and structure of textiles, fiber identification, agents of deterioration, documentation and handling. Methods for the care and stabilization of textiles will be shared including cleaning and stitched support.  Each workshop participant will get to make their own sampler of textile conservation stitches (basic knowledge of sewing is desirable but not essential). The second half of the workshop will focus on the storage and display of textiles and clothing, and the use of archival materials. The workshop participants will get the opportunity to make their own padded hangers and ‘sausages’ for storage; ‘soft’ mounts for internal support of accessories, padded boards for display of flat textiles, and learn more about mannequin modifications for the display of 3-dimensional clothing.

Click here for the Alaska Historical Society’s Thursday schedule as a PDF.

Click here for Museums Alaska’s Thursday schedule as a PDF.


THURSDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

MA Breakfast Roundtable: Museums Alaska Grant Programs: Art Acquisition Fund & Collections Management Fund Changes in 2018, Polar Café

Della Hall, Executive Director, Museums Alaska

Three morning breakfast roundtables will be led by Museums Alaska on the changes to the Art Acquisition Fund and Collections Management Fund grant programs and application process.


THURSDAY, 8:30-10:00AM

AHS Keynote: Thinking Together about Public History, Dr. Lorraine McConaghy, Old St. Joe’s Hall


THURSDAY, 10:30-12:00

AHS Session A: Gold Rush in Alaska’s Northwest, NWC Ptarmigan

Duped by a Convict: How Lawmen Perished in the Kotzebue Gold Rush

In 1897, George Stevens, prisoner at the Walla Walla Penitentiary, convinced the warden he could find gold in Kotzebue, Alaska. Prison warden James Addleman and his deputy, O. D. Butterfield, got Stevens released from prison. They bought the schooner Loyal and assembled a crew, including navigators, former policemen, Stevens and his 14-year-old son. When they arrived in Kotzebue, battered by weather and conflict, they discovered the promise of gold was a cruel hoax. The men patched the ship, abandoned Stevens and his son in Alaska and headed home. Days later they were capsized in a fierce storm. No one on board survived.

Sharon L. Morris is a retired faculty member of the University of Washington, School of Public Health. Her writing ranges from adventure travel essays—many set in Alaska—to family histories, including the story of her great-grandfather, James F. Addleman, who was lost at sea during the gold rush.


Gold Camp Followers Make History: The Marriage of Kate and Charles J. Kennedy, 1902-1914

In 1898, Spanish-American War veteran Charles J. Kennedy and 16-year-old Kate Kennedy hiked the Chilkoot Pass to the Klondike. Married in 1902, they traveled to Nome to be successful business partners. Their marriage was annulled in 1914. Kate moved to McCarthy, operating businesses for the lonely men seeking gold and copper. Charles mushed his dog team from Nome to Valdez, serving in the first Territorial Legislature. A controversial legislator, he was not re-elected, and there were allegations of election fraud. Charles died in the Nevada State Hospital for Mental Disease as an “indigent-insane” miner and was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Patt Garrett is a grandmother, retired clinical social worker, arm-chair historian, and ten-year volunteer docent at the McCarthy-Kennicott Historical Museum. She is working on a publication about gold camp follower Kate Kennedy.


The Discovery Saloon Building: A Link to Nome’s Gold Rush History

Built in 1899 by one of Nome’s Lucky Swedes, the former Discovery Saloon is Nome’s oldest structure. When the building was converted into a home in 1917, a local newspaper called it “about the finest residence in Nome.” It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Though “of the flimsiest construction,” the building has survived storm, flood and fire to become one of the community’s most tangible links to its Gold Rush past. Come learn about the history of this unique building and challenges of maintaining such a structure in a remote sub- arctic community.

Carol Gales moved to Nome from the Midwest in 1996 “for one year” and hasn’t left. After purchasing the former Discovery Saloon in 2002, she did extensive research on the building to guide exterior restoration work supported by historic preservation grants.


AHS Session B: The Military in Alaska, NWC Willow

“A Shot in the Arm for Alaska”: Al Jolson’s Report of his USO tour of the Alaskan Home Front and War Zone in 1942

On June 3, 1942, Japanese planes attacked Dutch Harbor, Alaska. On June 1, Al Jolson prepared for his flight from Seattle to Alaska as part of a USO sponsored tour. Several grounded flights later because of the attack, he finally arrived in Juneau on June 12. This paper examines an extensive report of his tour, written by Jolson, one of the most famous entertainers of the era, to consider Alaska as both home front and war zone during the early months of war in the Pacific. It reveals the conditions of soldiers and citizenry, the state of war preparations, and morale.

John W. Heaton is the Arthur T. Fathauer Chair in History and Chair of the University of Alaska Fairbanks History Department. His most recent publications have examined the Athabascans of the Alaska interior.


From the Alaska Highway to the Aleutians: Black Troops in Alaska and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement

This paper highlights the World War II years and illustrates ways this global conflict shaped Alaska’s black population and ushered in an era of civil rights. Black soldiers helped build the Alaska-Canadian Highway, served in the Aleutian campaign, and were stationed across the territory. They also faced discrimination—but in the face of mistreatment they served valiantly and with distinction. Consequently, the U.S. military would never be the same and neither would Alaska. This paper recasts Alaska as not only a critical staging ground for war but also an early battleground in the movement for civil rights.

Ian C. Hartman is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alaska Anchorage.


Copper River Landscapes and Indigenous Encounters: The Army Returns after 133 Years

This presentation is a report on fieldwork along the lower Copper River in April 2018 involving a collaborative effort between Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, BLM-Glennallen, the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology, Ahtna Incorporated, Chitina Native Corporation, Gulkana Village Council, and aviation assets from U.S. Army Alaska. The research was accomplished during the exact time of year when the 1885 expedition of Henry T. Allen ascended the lower Copper River on ice, mapping the landscape and recording indigenous encounters and sites along the route from Cordova to McCarthy and from Chitina to Glennallen.

Russ Vander Lugt is an active duty Army officer and doctoral student in the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Arctic and Northern Studies Program. His studies focus on indigenous-military relationships from the 19th century to the present.


AHS Session C: General Session, NWC Fireweed

Iliamna Lake Place Name Project from Local Perspectives

This paper is a progress report on the Iliamna Lake Place Name Project in Southwest Alaska. While recording place name narratives involving locals from five Iliamna Lake communities, Elders recognized that some places possess multiple names because of the individuals’ observations of the landscape and the cultural practices that occurred there. Before publishing

the place names map and data for future generations, the project team organized a workshop for local Elders to review the place names and their locations in May 2018. This place name map will demonstrate the history of Iliamna Lake from local perspectives.

Yoko Kuko is a doctoral student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the Arctic & Northern Studies Program. Her focus is the study of Central Yup’ik geographic knowledge including place names and oral histories in the Iliamna Lake area.


The Spenard Divorce: Humor and Normalization of Domestic Violence

An unexplored aspect of Anchorage folklore is the Spenard divorce, the purported manner for a disgruntled spouse to quickly and violently exit a marriage. The historical usage is light in tone, a jocular way of describing an imagined community of frontier justice and self-efficacy. In truth, the usage of Spenard divorce acknowledges the frequency of domestic violence in Alaska but downplays its significance. As such, the term is a local manifestation of a broader trend—humor as a means of normalizing crimes against women. This presentation tracks the origin, evolution, and context of the Spenard divorce within Alaska.

David Reamer is a public history graduate student at Southern New Hampshire University. His primary research interests are African-American history, homelessness, community histories, and baseball.

‘Scoundrels’ in Regional History

Do we Northerners have more than our share of reprobates in our history? The question inspired a seminar for members of Alaska’s chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Nobody in 2014 foresaw how entertaining and enlightening the pursuit of this question would prove to be. Over seven semesters, the seminar has discussed some 50 candidates for the designation of “scoundrel” with more suggested for future

consideration. OLLI’s scoundrel candidates from several periods of Northern history illustrate how widely they differ from one another and how multi-dimensional their characters can be.

Dave Norton holds degrees are in biology, but his career tracks have been more those of a generalist than a specialist. He may be unique in having served as a Research Associate at each of the three senior research institutes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (IAS, GI, IMS) and at the Museum of the North.


THURSDAY, 10:30-12:00PM

MA Session: A Legacy for Posterity: Relationship Building and Deepening with the Veterans History Project, NWC Salmonberry

Monica Mohindra, Head of Program Coordination and Communication, Library of Congress Veterans History Project; Karen Lloyd, Director Library of Congress Veterans History Project; and Bill Noomah, Educator, Homer, Alaska

An exploration of the ways to connect to content of and create inroads of participation with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP)for museums, libraries, educators and cultural organizations.  Discussion will include demonstration of practical implementation in a classroom or educational setting, as well as tips for connecting with communities to  generate veterans oral histories.  Also we can expand or contract the proposal to best fit the needs of the conference.  For instance to the above proposal we could add a second section focusing more on the conducting of interviews.

THURSDAY 10:30-11:15AM

MA Session: Incorporating Indigenous Languages into Alaskan Museums, NWC Coho

Aaron Leggett, Curator of Alaska History and Culture, Anchorage Museum; and Heather McClain, Sealaska Heritage Institute

This session will highlight the Anchorage Museums recent efforts to incorporate the indigenous language of its place into the overall branding and identity throughout the institution. This presentation will show how multiple areas of the museum have used Dena’ina as way to create a sense of place and encourage the use of language by visitors. Heather Mclain will present on the Sealaska Heritage Institutes new exhibition based on a native place names inventory project.

THURSDAY 11:15-12:00PM

MA Session: Do Museums Influence Communities or Communities Influence Museums? How One Museum Experienced Both, NWC Coho

Bethany Buckingham Follett, Curator, Wasilla Museum and Visitor Center; and Selena Ortega-Chiolero, Cultural Development Assistant for Chickaloon Village Tribal Council

The Wasilla Museum and Visitor Center created the Old Town Autumn Fest to fit a need in the community and was able to build partnerships with local businesses and non-profits for the event.  Then a local business used the museum as a backdrop for two Alaskan Made movies and to celebrate, the museum changed a permanent exhibit to continue the experience.  Listen to the nuts and bolts as to how a museum with two staff members continues to influence and be influenced by their community.


THURSDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

AHS Session A: Missions and Legacies, NWC Fireweed

Grafton (Happy) and Clara Burke—Medical Missionaries at Fort Yukon

For three decades in the early twentieth century, Episcopal missionaries Grafton and Clara Burke served the medical and spiritual needs of Athabascans from their base at Fort Yukon. In 1916, Burke and Episcopal Archdeacon Hudson Stuck opened St. Stephen’s hospital to serve Alaska Natives. Each summer Dr. Burke traveled on the mission boat, the Pelican, along the Yukon and its tributaries to tend people’s medical needs. The Burkes also raised many orphaned Native children at the mission. This paper will analyze Happy and Clara Burke’s service, considering their motivations, as well as Athabascans’ perspectives on their efforts and impact.

Mary F. Ehrlander directs the Arctic & Northern Studies Program and is Professor of History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Hild Peters is the executive officer of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


The Sitka Mission’s Early Days

Presbyterian missionaries arrived in Sitka in 1878, and their school was initially welcomed by some Tlingit leaders. However, controversy and lawsuits soon roiled this small community, and resonated in Washington, D.C. This was a time of great change in Tlingit life, as leaders protested appropriation of their property and negotiated a place in the rapidly changing economy. I examine the words of missionaries, ethnologists, and officials, as well as the speeches of Tlingit leaders and writing by students to tease out the story of the Sitka mission and the ways it shaped the Alaska of today.

Rebecca Poulson is an artist in Sitka who has been exploring the history of the Sheldon Jackson School and College. She is the director of the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society, is on the board of directors of the Alaska Historical Society, and is a member of the Alaska Historical Commission.


The Latter-day Saints Bush Branch in Alaska

This presentation will provide an overview of the history and development of the Latter-day Saints “Bush Branch.” This unusual church organization takes in over one-half-million square miles and is used to meet the needs of LDS members who are scattered throughout Alaska who are not connected to regular ecclesiastical units and do not have church buildings for meetings. It will describe ways of meeting individual needs via newsletters, phone communications and periodic visits from the 1960s to the present.

Fred E. Woods is a professor at Brigham Young University in the College of Religious Education. This year he completed a book and produced a documentary on Mormons in Alaska, both titled Melting the Ice: A History of Latter-day Saints in Alaska.


AHS Session B: Panel: Around the Campfire: Stories of Nome from Local Historians, NWC Willow

Join us for an intimate look into Nome’s history and culture through the lens of local historians and knowledge bearers. Listen to stories of sled dogs and gold mining, hear how buildings and businesses have endured, and learn about the preservation and revitalization of cultural traditions. This panel takes the form of a campfire session with seven-minute stories shared from personal experiences followed by interactive audience discussion.


Charlie Lean, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Lew Tobin, Nome City Council

Richard Beneville, Mayor, City of Nome Kirsten Bey, President, Nome Kennel Club

Annie Conger, Cultural Studies Teacher, Nome Public Schools John Handeland, Manager, Nome Joint Utilities System

Bernadette Yaayuk Alvanna-Stimpfle, Director, Kawerak Eskimo Heritage Program Howard Farley, Co-Founder of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race


THURSDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

MA Session: Creating Exhibit Labels, NWC Coho

Sarah Asper-Smith, Owner/Exhibit Designer, ExhibitAK; Christine Carpenter, Exhibit Designer, ExhibitAK; and Anjuli Grantham, Public Historian

This session focuses on the process of writing and designing clear, concise, and interesting exhibit labels. From developing content to the size of the font, there are many decisions that can help make the information in a museum relatable and legible. Bring your ideas, and our presenters will help you to best communicate the interesting stories of your museum to your visitors.

MA Session: Examining Our Strengths – Is Our Museum Up To The Challenges, NWC Salmonberry

Michael Haller, Executive Director, Alaska Veterans Museum

Do we think we’re in the ‘Museum Business’? Are we possibly committed to an  institutional standard(s) that are choking our life right out of us? A couple of nighmarish questions that should be considered (and there are more).  Who do we consider the most important people in the life of our museum? How do we interact with them?  This session will examine the critical need to know who we should be working with and for; and, will look at the key points to systematically improving our relationships.


THURSDAY, 3:30-5:00PM

AHS Session A: Personal Experiences in the Cold War Era, NWC Ptarmigan

Hippies, Whales, and Bolsheviks across the Strait

In the early 1980s, activists from the radical environmental organizations Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace launched their boats from Nome and sailed to the Siberian coast at Lorino where the Soviet Union operated a whaling station. As the activists had expected, the whales were not being used as food for the indigenous Chukchi people—despite Soviet declarations to the International Whaling Commission—but rather were being fed to foxes. The history of this campaign, with new information from the Russian archives, sheds interesting light on the final days of commercial whaling as well as the relationship between Siberia and Alaska.

Ryan T. Jones is the Ann Swindells Professor in Global Environmental History at the University of Oregon. He is also the author of Empire of Extinction: Russians and the North Pacific’s Strange Beasts of the Sea, 1742–1867.


Thomas Merton’s Alaska Journey: A Monk’s Ceaseless Exploring

America in 1968 was shattered by political chaos, but it was just the opposite for the young state of Alaska. Prudhoe Bay was announced, and the “backwards” outpost was suddenly celebrating its fortunes. This same year, the spiritual thinker and bestselling writer Thomas Merton visited the land of tundra and ice. After 27 years living as a Trappist monk, he ventured north for spiritual respite. Alaska had always drawn artists, writers, homesteaders, and hermits to its spacious wildlands and sublime mountains. Merton said the place “had more square miles to last any hermit until judgement day.” But as it turned out, Alaska was one of the last places on earth he saw.

Kathleen W. Tarr is a Thomas Merton scholar, a member of the Alaska Humanities Forum board, and the author of We Are All Poets Here (2018).


Lend-Lease: Alaska’s Air Route to Support Russia in WWII

The Lend-Lease program was a United States effort to defeat the Axis powers by delivering food, fuel, and, most importantly, war materiel to Russia and the rest of the rest of America’s allies between 1941 and 1945. This presentation will detail how the program began, which nations were involved, the cost to the United States, and the ways in which Joseph Stalin opened Siberian air routes and offered pilots to ferry planes and their cargos through Alaska to the Eastern Front.

Pete Haggland, as a boy in Fairbanks, watched Lend-Lease planes coming and going. He began flying for Pan American Airways in 1957 and has been director of the Fairbanks Pioneer Air Museum since 2009.


AHS Session B: Panel: Alaska Grown: Alaska History through the Eyes of Youth, NWC Willow

As Alaska’s economy slows, many of our young people decide to leave Alaska for what they see as better prospects “Outside.” How can we expect our best and brightest to stay and help build Alaska’s future if they do not understand how they contribute to its past? This panel will explore ways Alaska history connects our youth and cultivates the next generation of Alaska leaders.

Speakers will look at Alaska’s young people as historic actors—keen adventurers and skilled athletes whose unique narratives help us to better understand work, play and subsistence activities in Alaska.

Katherine Ringsmuth teaches at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Erin Kirkland is the author of Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children (2014). Vanessa Tahbone is a coach with the Native Youth Olympics and lives in Nome.


AHS Session C: Film, A Rose in Candle, NWC Fireweed

A Rose in Candle is a recently-completed documentary produced by Russ Reno and Beverly Churchill. It tells the story of a Jewish family in Candle, Alaska, in the Nome area during the early 1900s. It is a story of Rose Robinson, a young Jewish-Romanian immigrant who left a career as a world-touring violinist, and married and moved to Candle. The story uses Rose’s own words, personal photos, and materials from the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum.

Beverly Churchill is the granddaughter of Rose Robinson.


THURSDAY, 3:30-5:00PM

MA Session: Museums Alaska Annual Meeting, NWC Coho

Click here for the Alaska Historical Society’s Friday schedule as a PDF.

Click here for Museums Alaska’s Friday schedule as a PDF.


FRIDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

MA Breakfast Roundtable: Museums Alaska Grant Programs: Art Acquisition Fund & Collections Management Fund Changes in 2018, Bering Sea Bar & Grill

Della Hall, Executive Director, Museums Alaska

Three morning breakfast roundtables will be led by Museums Alaska on the changes to the Art Acquisition Fund and Collections Management Fund grant programs and application process.


FRIDAY, 8:30-10:00AM

MA Keynote: The Joy in Our Work, Marieke Van Damme, Old St. Joe’s Hall

We museum workers know (and studies confirm) that our institutions directly contribute to the well-being of a community. We provide education, but we also give opportunities for social interaction, beauty, understanding, and so much more. There is great joy in our work. Unfortunately, while the product the public sees is inspiring, behind the scenes the work can be grueling. Many issues haunt some in our field: perpetually under-resourced staff, no professional human resources department, low pay with poor benefits, and more. The result is often burn out and high turnover. How can we get our joy back? Join Marieke Van Damme, founder of the Joyful Museums project, for a look at the role we all play in promoting positive workplace culture in our museums.


FRIDAY, 10:30-12:00

AHS Session A: Visions of Nome, NWC Willow

Scooping up the Golden Sands: Ingenious Inventions and Jackass Machinery on the Nome Beach

If the indelible image of the Klondike Stampede was the stream of men hiking Chilkoot Pass, the corresponding reflection of the 1900 Nome rush was the line of beach miners spread out along

the shore of Norton Sound and the junk yard of “jackass machinery” with which they had hoped to mine the Bering Sea shore. “The contraptions,” one reporter wrote, “… are wonderful to behold.” This presentation explores the geology, economics, and history of beach mining on the Seward Peninsula from 1899 to the present and examines the continuing allure of Nome’s “golden sands” on the human imagination.

Terrence Cole is an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a long-time contributor to the work of the Alaska Historical Society.


From Nome to Seward, 1925: Frances Walker and Friends

Mentions of the Jesse Lee Home at Seward most often begin with the transfer of children from the Unalaska facility in 1925 and proceed from there, with no discussion of the contingent from Nome who undertook a longer voyage at the same time. Jesse Lee is also most often referred to as an orphanage, which is largely inaccurate except for the children from Nome who were cared for at the Lavinia Wallace Young mission after the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. I hope to help amend the historical record by introducing Frances Walker and others at this year’s gathering.

Jackie Pels was born in Seward and reared mostly in coastal Alaska. As Hardscratch Press she has edited and published more than 30 books of personal and community history, and is the author of Family After All: Alaska’s Jesse Lee Home / Vol. II, Seward, 1925-1965.


Historic Bars of Nome

Beginning as tents on the beach and developing into opulent palaces along Front Street, the bars of Nome have a wild reputation and a storied past. Establishments with names like the Dexter, the Northern, and the Board of Trade thrived with the influx of men seeking their fortunes. The fire of 1934 destroyed all of the Front Street bars, and the subsequent realignment forever obscured their former locations. The presentation will provide a historical synopsis of some of the most famous bars of Nome from the pre- and post-prohibition 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 is the Chief of the Geospatial Services Division for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.


AHS Session B: Prohibition and the Flu Pandemic of 1918, NWC Ptarmigan

The 1918 Influenza Goes North to Alaska

Called “Spanish Flu,” this pandemic killed more in a year than the Black Death did in a century and more in 24 months than AIDs in 24 years and more Americans than in World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. Annual influenzas kill old and young; the H1N1 virus killed 18 to 40 year olds. As WWI was ending in October 1918, steamships delivered flu to Alaska; it put military fort soldiers in coffins and Alaska Natives in communal graves. Eighty years later, lungs of a Brevig Mission woman buried with 72 villagers provided pathologists DNA to make antivirals and vaccines for the 2009 flu.

Beverly Beeton lives in Seattle. She served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at two Universities of Alaska, and regularly speaks on subjects related to her research on the social history of Alaska around World War I.


A Dena’ina Perspective on the 1918 Flu Epidemic

For the Dena’ina of Southcentral Alaska the 1918 flu epidemic irreparably changed the traditional lifestyle as they would soon become the minority in their homeland. Although exact numbers are not available, it is estimated that in a two- to three-year period half of the Dena’ina population succumbed to the illness. Using oral accounts from the Dena’ina and those living among them we can see the ravages that this terrible disease wrought and how it played a part in shaping Dena’ina identity today.

Aaron Leggett lives in Anchorage and is a member of the Native Village of Eklutna and currently serves as its president. He works as the Anchorage Museum’s Curator of Alaska History and Culture and was an integral part in the exhibition and catalog Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi.


Enforcing the 1918 “Bone Dry” Law: A Nome Case Study

In a 1916 referendum authorized by the Territorial legislature at the behest of temperance activists, Alaskans voted 2-to-1 in favor of a “bone dry” law prohibiting the manufacture and

sale of “intoxicating liquors.” Congress enacted legislation for Alaska implementing these terms on January 1, 1918—two years before the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution imposed prohibition nationally. Enforcement proved controversial and difficult, especially given Alaska’s long and enthusiastic drinking history and greater threats to public health and safety that loomed on horizon. Nome’s experience with the “bone dry” law in the early years reveals both the zeal and ambivalence that characterized the short-lived prohibition experiment.

Barbara Hood lives in Anchorage. She served as an attorney in the public sector for many years and was a long-time member of the Alaska Bar Association’s Historians Committee. She has edited and photographed photo-text exhibits on addiction recovery for RuralCap’s Homeward Bound.


AHS Session C: Films: Sayeik and Melting the Ice, NWC Fireweed


This documentary film discusses three aspects of Alaskan place names, or toponyms. It explores the historical process of recording and choosing toponyms during 19th and 20th century exploration of Alaska, the anthropological relevance of place names to language revitalization, and the contemporary political process of place naming and appeals in Alaska.

Forrester Holton is studying at the University of Alaska Southeast and is conducting research with funding from the Undergraduate Research, Experiential & Creative Activities Program.


Melting the Ice: A History of Latter-day Saints in Alaska

Notwithstanding the frigid circumstances, a genuine warmth emanates from the Alaskan Saints. The match that lit this internal flame was the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, first striking the Alaskan borders at the turn of the twentieth century. They have subtly shaped Alaskan society, although composing less than five percent of the state’s population. Their influence on Alaskan communities can be seen through their family values, humanitarian service, community projects, and family history centers. This film tells the story of the rise and influence of Latter-day Saints as they joined hands on their journey of “melting the ice.”

Fred E. Woods is a professor at Brigham Young University in the College of Religious Education. This year he completed a book and a documentary on Mormons in Alaska.


FRIDAY, 10:30-12:00

MA Session: Moving from Competition to Collaboration – Creating Better Partnerships in Your Region, NWC Coho

Bethany Buckingham Follett, Curator, Wasilla Museum and Visitor Center; Selena Ortega-Chiolero, Cultural Development Assistant for Chickaloon Village Tribal Council; Sue Deyoe, Manager, Talkeetna Historical Society & Museum; and Sherry Jackson, Director, Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry

This session will provide attendees a hands-on/group interaction on how to build relationships with other museums and non-profits in their regions based on the Valley Association for Local History and Culture (VALHC) model.  This model was developed and used within the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Museums and Cultural Entities.  Format will include power point presentations and panel discussion of how the Mat-Su Museums came together as an organization to work together for visitors to the area.  Also a focus on how two museums used their relationship and resources to leverage funding opportunities for shared grants and projects.  After presentations, the group will break out into smaller discussion groups based on government museums and non-profit relations, non-profit museums and local business relations, and non-profit museums with other non-profit organization relations and non-profit museums and cultural entity relations.

MA Session: Cannery Life:  Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Rim, and Beyond, NWC Salmonberry

Katie Ringsmuth, Project Director, NN Cannery History Project

This presentation will explore the people and cultures from around the world that became involved in cannery industry of Alaska.  Through the decades, cannery work can be traced to the influences of laws and regulations, social and economic factors, and, of course, by natural resources.  These influences ever driving us to come together in work and play at remote self-sustaining complexes.  Through the NN Cannery History Project, former cannery workers share stories of their cannery experience making it clear that although groups of common origins generally stuck together, cultures were not only shared, but embraced by each other.  We will be sharing collected tales from the project archives, and engaging the audience and guests to join the conversation so we may all grow a greater understanding of how the long hours and strenuous labor of individuals and cultural groups coalesced into one larger common venture considered the cannery life.


FRIDAY, 12:00-1:15PM

AHS Lunch Roundtable: Addressing the Crisis in Alaska’s Archives, Polar Cafe

MA Lunch Roundtable: Constant Engagement – The Quest To Improve The Museum’s Communications and Functions: What Is The Right Amount?, Husky’s

Michael Haller, Executive Director, Alaska Veterans Museum

Determining the ‘right mix’ of communications to the public, the staff, volunteers, partners, collaborators, funding groups and individuals is a relentless challenge. But there are many useful and effective methods that deserve conversation, exploration, and consideration. Adapting to changing environments and conditions is critical to the mission success of our museums.

MA Lunch Roundtable: Building Togetherness with Icebreakers, Milano’s

Sarah Harrington, Executive Director, Kodiak Historical Society

Icebreakers provide the perfect tool for Board, staff, and volunteers to create meaningful connections and inspire togetherness. Explore a collection of team-building icebreakers that work well in any situation to ensure everyone gets off on the right foot. Join this fun and engaging session to test new icebreakers that are quick and easy, that help a group relax, and a few more challenging examples to help bridge the distance.


FRIDAY, 1:30-3:00PM

AHS Session A: Lives in the Far North, NWC Ptarmigan

Excerpts from an Arctic Memoir

My parents Sylvester and Gertrude Mazen came to Alaska to teach in 1926, first in Selawik then Wales. I was born in Teller in 1928 and raised in Shaktoolik and Nome. Enduring the Arctic’s bitter cold was part and parcel of daily life, like the time mom and my 10-year-old sister Constance traveled across Norton Sound by dog team and the time my dad fell through the ice while traveling by dog team from Wales to Teller. I will share these family stories with slides, many of which are part of my memoir entitled Kiyonuk being published by Hardscratch Press this year.

Sylvester D. “Kiyonuk” Mazen was born in Teller in 1928, with his first home in Wales, followed by Shaktoolik and Nome. He left Alaska in 1952, and, after a career in education and family counseling and after sailing around the Pacific, returned in 1998 and settled in Homer.


The Moore Journey: Alaska through the Pocket Kodak

This presentation will share photographs W. R. E. and Inez Moore took during their years in Alaska, 1922-40. They came to Alaska employed by the Department of the Interior to teach school and manage reindeer herding on the Lower Yukon and Kobuk rivers. They dabbled in mining, barge transportation, and managing a trading post at Ohogamute during the 1930s. They enjoyed keeping in touch via shortwave radio and taking photos with their Pocket Kodak camera.

Dorothy M. Moore is a retired social studies teacher and former Alaska Historical Society board member. She now enjoys organizing the photographs and papers of her grandmother who wrote under the pen name “Tugboat Inez of the Yukon.”


Michael Francis Kazingnuk and the Eskimo History Story

This paper offers an overview of a manuscript written by Michael Francis Kazingnuk in the 1930s. Kazingnuk was from the Diomede Islands and documented many of his personal experiences as well as stories, songs, and other information from his elders, relatives, and others. Kawerak, Inc.’s Social Science Program recently transcribed this document, which is available on our website and at the Alaska State Library.

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian is an anthropologist and director of Kawerak Inc.’s Social Science Program. She works with the tribes and communities of the Bering Strait region.


AHS Session B: Commerce and Empire, NWC Willow

The Argosy of the Alaska Commercial Company

During the final decades of the 19th century the Alaska Commercial Company operated the largest commercial fleet in Alaskan waters. Recently discovered material in a General Manager’s Book comprehensively describes the entire fleet from Yukon River barges to ocean- hulled steamships. The details of each ship—sail, steam and paddlewheel—were cataloged with listings that included draft, keel length, year built, and capacity. The combined tonnage of the ships exceeded any other shipping company on the Pacific coast of the United States in 1901.

This paper discusses the ships and their unique contributions to Alaska’s economic development.

Pennelope Goforth is a photojournalist and writer with a background in the fishing industry out of the Bering Sea and Southeast Alaska where she worked on crabbers and sailed. She has written numerous articles especially about Alaska’s maritime history.


Russian Colonization of Alaska—Continuing the Colonization of Siberia?

The creation of the multinational Russian Empire is connected to the colonization of wide open spaces of the Eastern territories. After colonization of Siberia, Russian pioneers needed more than a century to muster their strength, cross the North Pacific and colonize a part of North America. The Russian claiming of Alaska chronologically coincides with the second era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World-Economy (1730-1840s). World-system analysis allows a wide-perspective comparative analysis of the colonization of Alaska and Siberia as well as the colonization led by other European countries that was carried out at the same time.

Pavel Pimenov is studying history at Ural Federal University with a focus on Alaska history. His research has been presented at conferences in Budapest and St. Petersburg.


Across the Arctic by Air: Alaska’s Role in Polar Exploration Flights

When Roald Amundsen, Lincoln Ellsworth, and Umberto Nobile landed their airship Norge in Teller, Alaska on May 14, 1926, they linked the Eastern and Western Hemispheres through the first crossing of the Arctic by air. Although the territory supported and received polar aviator- explorers throughout the 1920s, including those of Amundsen and Australian explorer Hubert Wilkins, Alaska thrust numerous challenges upon flyers seeking to conquer the Arctic. By comparing and contrasting these expeditions to those launched elsewhere, this research analyzes how Alaska aided and challenged these efforts at polar flights.

Leanna P. Williams is a graduate student in the Arctic and Northern Studies Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and focuses on Arctic aviation history. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Fairbanks’s Pioneer Air Museum.


AHS Session C: Film, NWC Fireweed When in Nome . . .

The Alaska State Library Historical Collections in Juneau and the Alaska Film Archives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have teamed up to create a 30-minute compilation of motion picture scenes showcasing Nome’s rich history. In keeping with the theme of “History in Alaska’s Arctic,” and in the spirit of conferencing, the compilation of historical film and video clips will emphasize the myriad ways in which people have joined together for events and activities in Nome over the past 100 years.

Angela Schmidt is film archivist with the Alaska Film Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Alaska Film Archives is celebrating its 25th year in 2018.

Damon Stuebner is with the Alaska State Library Historical Collections.


MA Session: Museums + Communities: Collaborative Exhibits and Reciprocal Relationships, NWC Coho

Amy Phillips-Chan Director, Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum; Kirsten Anderson, Deputy Director, Anchorage Museum; Sarah Asper-Smith, Owner, ExhibitAK; and Lisa Ellanna, Director, Katirvik Cultural Center

Processes of engagement between museums and communities in Alaska are resulting in collaborative exhibits that offer new perspectives and alternative narratives, which  give local knowledge and cultural self-representation greater validity within museum spaces. Fresh approaches to interpretative strategies including multi-media interactives, immersive experiences, and online platforms are providing avenues to share multiple stories, cultivate vibrant dialogue, and increase access to collections. This session explores recent exhibit developments in Alaska with a shared focus on collaborative meaning-making, intercultural communication, and reciprocal museum-community relationships.

MA Session: Keynote Follow-up: I Like My Job, But…, NWC Salmonberry

Marieke Van Damme, Joyful Museums

Museums can be difficult workplaces. Come with your issues about workplace culture and share your stories in a safe setting. Together we will troubleshoot possible solutions you can use back at work on Monday.


FRIDAY, 3:30-5:00PM

AHS Session: Alaska Historical Society annual business meeting, NWC Willow


FRIDAY, 3:30-5:00 PM

MA Session: Building Community Connections Using Stories of the Past: Introduction to Alaska History Day Program, NWC Coho

Amanda Dale  Program Coordinator, Alaska Humanities Forum

This year the Alaska Humanities Forum has taken over coordination of the Alaska History Day program, which is a contest for students in grades 6-12. Students spend months creating and researching history projects and presenting them in one of five formats: exhibit, website, film, performance, or paper. Museums, particularly those in smaller communities, can be a key partner with schools, teachers and community members in this long-running and growing program in a variety of ways, including visiting classrooms, inviting students to museum collections, proposing topics, hosting local contests, and assisting with judge recruitment and orientation. Come and learn about the program, hear about existing successful museum partnerships, and consider what your organization’s role could be for Alaska History Day in your community.

FRIDAY, 3:30-4:15PM

MA Session: Cross-disciplinary Collaboration: Efforts in Curation, Conservation, and Preservation at the Dick Proenneke Cabin Site, NWC Salmonberry

Nicole Peters, Art Conservator, Peters Art Conservation Services; Daniel Papke, Preservationist, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park; and Katie Myers, NPS Museum Curator for Alagnak Wild River, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, Katmai National Park and Preserve, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

The Richard L. Proenneke Cabin Complex is located in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve on the southeastern shore of upper Twin Lakes, Alaska. The site is recognized nationally for its stature as an excellent example of an Alaska bush log cabin. The site is only accessible by float plane in the summer. Currently, efforts are being put forth by the NPS curatorial division, NPS preservationists, and conservators in order to develop a comprehensive preservation plan for the objects housed in this historic cabin and the outbuildings. This has proven to be a complex project requiring cross-disciplinary collaboration due to the unique preservation issues of the backcountry environment and its effect on the historic cabin objects. This presentation features a three-point perspective from NPS Curator Katie Myers, NPS Preservationist Daniel Papke, and conservator Nicole Peters, and how each member of the team dealt with logistical and ethical issues encountered throughout the project.

FRIDAY, 4:15-5:00PM

MA Session: “Nay’ dini’aa Na’ Hwt’aene Ugheldze’ Xuk’anotta Nene’ (Nurture the Land and People) Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, NWC Salmonberry

Bethany Buckingham Follett, Curator, Wasilla Museum and Visitor Center; and Selena Ortega-Chiolero, Cultural Development Assistant, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council

Presenters have been involved in a three year grant project with the Nay’ dini’aa Na’ Hwt’aene Ugheldze’ Xuk’anotta Nene’ (Nurture the Land and People) project.  Partners have been assisting the Tribe in collecting information and artifacts, organizing and preserving cultural history and artifacts, training local tribal members in tourism and presentations, developing cultural resources, fostering local partnerships, and promoting community relations.  Partners will discuss their organization and their contributions to the project and explain how other communities can create their own programs and build relationships.

Click here for the Alaska Historical Society’s Saturday schedule as a PDF.

Click here for Museums Alaska’s Saturday schedule as a PDF.


SATURDAY, 7:00-8:00AM

MA Breakfast Roundtable: Museums Alaska Grant Programs: Art Acquisition Fund & Collections Management Fund Changes in 2018, Milano’s

Della Hall, Executive Director, Museums Alaska

Three morning breakfast roundtables will be led by Museums Alaska on the changes to the Art Acquisition Fund and Collections Management Fund grant programs and application process.


SATURDAY, 9:30-11:00AM

AHS Session A: Tourism and Representation, NWC Willow

Baranov Museum or Russian American Magazin: Sleuthing Its Early Histories and Effects on Modern Placard Story Themes

Presumptions about some 18th and 19th century activities at the Baranov Museum or Russian American Magazin have clouded the modern placards’ story themes which are desired in current museum exhibits. The presenter has tracked down the origin and progression of these ersatz histories which revolve around the questionable usage of this National Historic Landmark as a fur warehouse under Baranov. This presumed usage could lead to an exhibit placard about forced Alaskan Native labor, particularly in warehouse-stocking. Should the museum wear this placard around its figurative neck?

Dawn L. Black is the co-author/editor/co-translator of Natalia Shelikhova: Russian Oligarch of Alaska Commerce and is also co-author and co-translator of an on-line book about the Russian Orthodox priest Tikhon Shalamov and his book Around the Mission


Traces of the Industrial Sublime: Salmon Hatcheries and Tourism in Southeast Alaska

Since the 1890s, the tourism industry has attempted to prove Alaska’s scenery more valuable than gold. Paradoxically, natural resource extraction has also been of interest to scenery- seeking tourists. From the Treadwell Mine of the 1890s to salmon hatcheries today, tourists have been interested in gold, timber, and fish. Drawing on Robert Campbell’s In Darkest Alaska, I suggest a contemporary Juneau hatchery tour’s draw is similar to what brought tourists to Treadwell. Arguing that both tours present the technological illusion of producing wealth without labor, I maintain they also mask the ecological and social perils inherent to resource extraction.

Kevin Maier is Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Humanities Department at the University of Alaska Southeast. He is also an Alaska Salmon Fellow through the Alaska Humanities Forum and works as a fishing guide in Juneau during the summer.


When You Think Alaska—Think Alaska Steamship Company

Chances are now, when the public imagines Alaska, they no longer think of the Alaska Steamship Company, but they should. One common agent united the territory of Alaska and packaged its quintessential Alaskan iconography between the early 1900s and the early 1950s. The Alaska Steamship Company’s art and advertising both created and reinforced preexisting symbols of Alaskan culture that it disseminated amongst its passengers and which it solidified into a nationwide image of Alaska and, for locals, an Alaskan identity.

Pierce A. Bateman is a historian for Fort Wainwright and is also a graduate student in the Arctic and Northern Studies Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he is writing his thesis on the Alaska Steamship Company.


AHS Session B: Politics and Nature, NWC Ptarmigan

Weirs Not Dams: A Historical Examination of Fish Agents and Tlingit Fish Weirs

Waves of people headed north to Alaska for the Klondike and Nome gold rushes but even more steadily made their way to Alaska each summer to work in the commercial fishing industry. By the mid-1890s federal fish agents began inspecting rivers and streams in Southeast Alaska and failed to realize that the Tlingit carefully managed their weirs for millennia. Over the course of the next decade the fish agents tore out Tlingit weirs and/or threatened fines and imprisonment if the traps were not removed.

Daniel Monteith is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Southeast.


Historical Investigations of Indigenous Whale Harvesting in the North Pacific Ocean

Whales represent an important food and materials source for Native communities in Alaska and along the West Coast of United States and Canada. Multiple species of whales have been hunted for centuries by Native peoples with rituals and techniques that vary across regions and are specific for a target species. This presentation examines a wide variety of historical sources documenting not only whaling techniques and practices of Alaska Native groups but also the use, processing, and preservation of whale parts across the region.

Valentina Melica is a fisheries student with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Daniel Monteith is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Southeast.


AHS Session C: Past Meets Present: Historic Resource Use, NWC Fireweed

The Seward Peninsula has a long history of dependence on natural resources. The unique economic, social, geographical, and political contexts of the region have contributed to this history. Managers and users from Nome will talk about past and current management strategies.

Historic Resources Use within Northwest Alaska, Jack Omelak, Education and Public Program Coordinator, Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum.

Current Federal Management Strategies within the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Nicole Braem, Social Scientist, National Park Service.

Past and Current Reindeer Management within the Seward Peninsula, Claudia Ihl, Researcher and Instructor, University of Alaska Fairbanks Northwest Campus.

Eskimo Walrus Commission, Jacob Martin, Tribal Resources Director, Nome Eskimo Community.


SATURDAY, 9:30-11:00AM

MA Session: Museum Q&A, NWC Coho

Monica Shah, Director of Collections and Chief Conservator, Anchorage Museum

A session to stimulate discussion and questions among museum colleagues.