Representatives from the Alaska State Museum were in town last week to gather community input on the new museum being built in Juneau. Steve Henrikson is the curator of collections for the state museum and said construction isn’t expected to wrap up for another two years, but he and other museum staff and collaborators have been traveling the state to ask folks what they think should be a part of the new exhibits.
“It’s a difficult task to take so many millions of items, whether they’re artifacts or photographs or papers, and decide what of that we’re going to be able to put on exhibit. Obviously we’re not going to have enough room, even though we have a huge new building, it’s still a limited amount of space. So in the process of consulting we’re working with local experts, elders, cultural leaders and the general public all around the state to figure out exactly what is of interest to people and what do they think is important to let the world know about Alaska, why is it special and why is it significant.” Continue reading
A minor renovation at the Baranov Museum will allow for more art work to be put on display. Museum Director Tiffany Brunson said the museum received a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation via Museums Alaska to improve art storage in the historic Erskine House.
“So Don Corwin, a local carpenter and who does great work for us always, is currently in the museum building additional shelving in one of our collection spaces so that we can store all of the art that we have in a little bit more appropriate setting.”
Brunson said most of the museum’s art is hanging on the walls upstairs in the administrative offices because there is nowhere else to put it.
“And it’s really a great representation of Kodiak artwork through the years. We’ve been collecting art since we became a museum and the Kodiak Historical Society in 1954.”
She said the museum also uses the Rasmuson Foundation’s art acquisition grant to buy local art and add to its collection. Continue reading
The Baranov Museum has welcomed a new face to its staff these days. Last week Jill Lipka began work as the new curator of education, replacing Sarah Harrington, who left the museum earlier this month. Lipka comes from an extensive background in museums and art, including five years with the Alutiiq Museum and most recently an art administrator for the Kodiak Island Borough School District.
Lipka said she’s grateful to have an opportunity to work for the Baranov, and is finding constant inspiration by everything in the museum, which is located in the historic Erskine House.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am. Everything I look at is a brand new story that I can take and put into an outreach program. This is my passion – combining objects and stories and just sharing to anybody who’s willing to listen.”
Lipka said she hopes to continue a number of arts education programs started by past museum curators, but has been talking with Museum Director Tiffany Brunson about other outreach opportunities to get the community involved with Kodiak’s history – or even just their own history. Continue reading
School has been out for almost a month now, but about a dozen middle and high school students have continued their learning outside the classroom. The Baranov Museum’s summer film intensive workshop has been underway for about three weeks and participants have been busy researching, conducting interviews and editing video for their very own documentary film.
Marie Acemah co taught the film intensive and said this is the third year for the program, which typically tackles a specific theme.
“So the first year it was Filipino community stories, the second year it was the tsunami and earthquake of 1964 and this year we’re tackling the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Each student makes a documentary film on specific topic. So it’s just a really intensive experience.”
The workshop is sponsored by the school district, and they provide laptops for editing and iPads for filming. It doesn’t cost anything for participants, only a three week commitment and understanding that it will require additional work outside of the three hours they meet each morning. It’s open to students entering grades 7th through 12th, and high school history credits are given to those who complete the project.
This year’s workshop theme was fitting, as 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Students covered topics ranging from affects on the fishing community to how the event was portrayed in the media at the time. Continue reading
For the past three weeks, almost a dozen students in grades 7th-12th have been working diligently on mini documentaries as part of the Baranov Museum’s summer film intensive workshop. This is the third year the workshop has taken place, and it typically focuses on one of Kodiak’s many historical events. This year the students tackeled the topic of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, which occured 25 years ago. On today’s edition of Talk of the Rock, we’ll talk with some of those students about their experiences interviewing locals and learning about Kodiak’s history, in addition to operating filming equipment and editing their own films.
Alaska’s oldest building has captured the interest of the Historic American Building Survey. Crews are in town this week to document the structure of the Baranov Museum, which was built by the Russian-American Company in the early 1800s.
Tiffany Brunson is the director of the museum and said the Historic American Building Survey, also known as HABS, documents historical buildings around the country and is run by three different agencies, primarily the National Park Service.
“So what they’ll do is they’re actually bringing digital building survey equipment to come out and survey the Barnov Museum – the entire structure inside and out, and create architectural drawings essentially for the Historic American Building Survey.”
Those drawings are then stored in the Library of Congress and will be available to the public.
“It’s also of course available to us in the Park Service so that we have really good, really detailed architectural drawings of our building.” Continue reading