WHO WE ARE
Museums Alaska is a statewide professional association that strengthens museums and cultural centers and enhances public understanding of their value through training, networking, professional development opportunities, grant programs, and advocacy. The organization began as a committee of the Alaska Historical Society in the late 1970s and became a non-profit organization [501(c)(3)] in 1983. Over the past four decades, Museums Alaska has steadily strengthened its operations and services and in 2020 hired its first full-time director to further grow the organization.
Museums Alaska provides services to museums, cultural organizations, and professionals across Alaska. Members represent a diverse group of professionals, students, consultants, and museum enthusiasts who are interested in caring for and sharing Alaska’s heritage. The organization supports an average of 150 members in communities from Nome to Ketchikan and many others who participate in events, programs, and trainings hosted by Museums Alaska.
To advance its mission, Museums Alaska acts as a clearinghouse for information about Alaska’s cultural institutions and their activities, advocates for museums at the state and national levels, develops opportunities and resources for professional education, and maintains an innovative grant program.
In 2003, Rasmuson Foundation and Museums Alaska began a long-term partnership to assist museums with acquiring artwork by living Alaska artists through the Art Acquisition Fund (AAF). The AAF has allowed museums across the state to acquire over a thousand significant works that help to tell 21st century Alaskan stories while stimulating local arts economies. Museums Alaska and the Rasmuson Foundation partnered again in 2013 to develop the Collections Management Fund (CMF) to provide museums with essential support for collections care projects ranging from documentation and conservation to storage. The Museums Alaska Director oversees both funds with administrative cost support from Rasmuson Foundation and assistance from volunteer peer reviewers.
Museums Alaska also provides museum professionals and their institutions with essential education and networking opportunities through its annual meeting, webinars, and online networking events.
ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION
This is the founding document for Museums Alaska.
Our most recent bylaws were approved by a vote by our membership in 2019. Bylaws are updated at least every five years, or more frequently as circumstances dictate.
This is Museums Alaska's strategic plan for 2019-2023, approved in March 2019 by the Board of Directors.
CODE OF CONDUCT
In 2019, Museums Alaska's Board of Directors adopted a code of conduct that applies to any participant in Museums Alaska's programs, including membership and grant opportunities.
In 1977, small group of Alaska museum people came together to hold an informal meeting to discuss their common concern over the lack of a unified voice to speak up for museums during the annual meeting of the Alaska Historical Society (AHS). As a result of this meeting, this group established the Museum Planning Committee as an unofficial subcommittee of the AHS. This subcommittee eventually decided to form a new and separate non-profit organization to focus on the specific needs of Alaska museums. Six years after that initial meeting, Museums Alaska filed its Articles of Incorporation in 1983. By 1987 Museums Alaska had expanded its membership, hired its first part-time executive director to provide membership services, and began publishing a quarterly newsletter, called Network.
For more information on the history of Museums Alaska, please refer to A Brief History of Museums Alaska by Gail Hollinger (2002).