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Thank you to all the presenters and attendees of our 2021 Museums Alaska Annual Meeting! It was virtual this year—and free thanks to Rasmuson Foundation—which is why we are able to share all the sessions with you here. We have also included links to all of the resources connected with the sessions.

We hope you enjoyed the conference this year and we hope to see you next year!


Welcome and Awards

The official welcome to #MA2021: The 2021 Annual Museums Alaska Conference! Following the welcome, we hear from Alexandra McKay of Rasmuson Foundation, and then announce our annual conference awards and hear from our awardees!

Learn more about the awards.

Learn more about the #MA2021 awardees.


Amy Phillips-Chan - President, Museums Alaska

Alexandra McKay - Vice President of Programs, Rasmuson Foundation

Curating in Crisis: Seeking Opportunities within Pandemic Constraints

The pandemic upended museum work everywhere and, in doing so, forced many of us to rethink old assumptions. In his talk, Dr. Benjamin Filene, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of American History, will take us behind the scenes of that museum's efforts, halting at times, to find opportunity within the “new normal.” He will share lessons learned from digital outreach efforts (24 Hours in a Time of Change, Stories of 2020), live programming initiatives (Pandemic Perspectives), and contemporary collecting efforts.


Dr. Benjamin Filene - Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Guided Conversation: Alaska and Cultural Tourism

Knowing and Attracting your Audience – focusing activities and learning experiences towards a particular type of traveler. Museum Introductions – First Impressions. What makes your Cultural Institution interesting to a traveler? Thinking “outside the box” and providing interactive activities Speakers: Karen Kroon - Membership, Tourism and Group Sales Administrator, Anchorage Museums at Rasmuson Center Christina Colvin - Director of Logistics, Premier Alaska Tours, Inc., Greater Anchorage Area Mandy Garcia - Owner, Salmonberry Tours, Anchorage, AK

Museums work hard to preserve and present culture, art, science, and history. Our visitors make it all worth the efforts. Come hear from tourism industry experts with knowledge about what attracts them to a museum, what makes it attractive to travelers, and why they build cultural activities into tour itineraries.


Karen Kroon - Membership, Tourism and Group Sales Administrator, Anchorage Museums at Rasmuson Center

Christina Colvin - Director of Logistics, Premier Alaska Tours, Inc., Greater Anchorage Area

Mandy Garcia - Owner, Salmonberry Tours, Anchorage, AK

Guided Conversation: Resilience and Strategic Planning

Gail Anderson discusses the Resilience Model featured in The Resilience Playbook, December 2020. The model was created to help institutions reimagine their institutions for greater inclusion, resilience, and impact especially critical in a world of disruptions and rapid change. Anderson will share how this pivotal moment is ideal for tackling embedded practices, assumptions, and actions that have hindered museums greater potential and undertake strategic planning. Anderson will share the Resilience Model, and open up the conversation to questions and dialogue.

Resilience Model

Mission Matters

Inside Out Outside In Article


Gail Anderson - President, Gail Anderson & Associates


Unlearning Museum "Best" Practices to Build Community

Join us to learn how five institutions are building stronger relationships with native tribes through collections care practices and community outreach.

April Laktonen Counceller will discuss the Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository's Spiritual Care of Collections Policy. Terry Snowball will discuss the cleansing room at the National Museum of the American Indian. Steve Henrikson will discuss the ceremonial use programs at the Alaska State Museum for culturally important objects. Kim Christen will discuss outreach and tribal consultation. Brandon Castle will discuss adding Indigenous terms and languages to collections records.

Indigenous Collaboration Resources


Selena Ortega-Chiolero - Museum Specialist, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council

April Counceller - Executive Director, Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository

Terry Snowball - Repatriation Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution

Steve Henrikson - Curator of Collections, Alaska State Museum

Brandon Castle - NAGPRA Assistant, Tongass National Forest

Kim Christen - Director, Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, Washington State University

Object Labeling Workshop

This workshop provides an introduction or refresher for museum professionals who need to label collections.

The instructor for the workshop will be Conservator Ellen Carrlee, who has been labeling collections for more than 25 years, and last taught this workshop at the Museums Alaska conference in 2011. Updates for 2021 include the most recent information from the labeling workshop given by our colleague Fran Ritchie at the American Institute for Conservation annual conference.

Ellen's Powerpoint


Ellen Carrlee - Conservator, Alaska State Museum

Lightning Talks

This is our first Lightning Talk event—a series of two-minute, lighthearted or informative presentations about what our Alaska colleagues have been up to!


Scott Bartlett - Executive Director, Homer Council on the Arts

Amanda Lancaster - Curator of Collections, Alutiiq Museum & Archeological Repository

Niko Sanguinetti - Curator of Public Programs, Juneau Douglas City Museum

Céline Wachsmuth - Conservation Intern, Anchorage Museum

Faith Revell - Curator of Education and Public Programs, Valdez Museum & Historical Archive

Jennifer Gibbins - Director, Pratt Museum

Bethany Buckingham Follett - Curator, Wasilla Museum & Visitor Center

Argent Kvasnikoff - Planning Director, Q'eschił Heritage Center

Anjuli Grantham - Curator of Statewide Services, Alaska State Museum

Sarah Asper-Smith - Founder and President, ExhibitAK

Helen Alten - Director, Northern States Conservation Center


Resilience and Growth at the Alaska Native Heritage Center

Learn about the Alaska Native Heritage Center and how they adapted to COVID-times in our second keynote of the conference.

MOU Examples


Emily Edenshaw - President and CEO, Native Cultural Heritage Center

Guided Conversation: Museum Administrators Roundtable

A round table discussion for heads of museums, cultural centers, historical societies, and related agencies to discuss issues of common concern for institutions around the State.

Facilitator: Addison Field - Chief Curator, Alaska State Museums

Guided Conversation: Museum Education

Consider the past year of museum education and imagine its future.  Anchorage Museum educators Christine Cassidy Itta, Missy Gaulke, and Molissa Udevitz facilitate reflection and discussion on the barriers, adaptations, and successes in museum education during the COVID-era.  Connect, share, and learn from others in small breakout rooms. 

Sample Discussion Questions


Molissa Udevitz - Educator, Anchorage Museum

Christine Cassidy Itta - Educator, Anchorage Museum

Missy Gaulke - Educator and Department Coordinator, Anchorage Museum


Online Tools for Digital Engagement Workshop

This is especially relevant as museums navigate digital learning amidst the pandemic and is intended for museum practitioners developing distance learning programs. 

This two-hour workshop introduces low cost digital tools that engage audiences in an online learning environment. In a “hands-on, minds-on” approach, this workshop will examine questions such as: How do we engage audiences with different tools? What are the strengths and limitations of various digital tools? What are the best practices in selecting and using these tools?

 Speaker: Emily Kotecki - Museum learning consultant and podcaster 

Making Great Exhibits (With Not So Great Budgets)


Paul Orselli presents a fun and fast-paced workshop designed to highlight budget-stretching tips and techniques for creating memorable visitor experiences at any type (or size) of museum.

Every workshop participant will leave with concrete ideas and resources for prototyping and exhibit development to start using right away.

Interactive Exhibit Considerations

Elvis the Prototyper

Free Resources 

Speaker: Paul Orselli - President and Chief Instigator, POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.)

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