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Support Grant-in-Aid

The Governor’s Office has eliminated the Grant-In-Aid program from their budget as one of the many cuts they proposed statewide. YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED to advocate for the program. See our blog post for a template letter and information about how to send.

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2018 Conference Call for Proposals deadline March 31

The Program Committee is excited to announce this year’s conference theme and call for proposals.

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Museum Snapshot Day

Curator of Education Jill Lipka fills a whale tooth mold for a scrimshaw education program. Kodiak Historical Society & Baranov Museum.

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Museum Snapshot Day

Two staff members working on the installation of “Behind the Lens: 6 Juneau Photographers.” Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Juneau.

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Museum Snapshot Day

Victoria McDonald weaving a Ravenstail piece at the last Open Craft Night of the season. Ketchikan Museums.

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Museum Snapshot Day

Processing oversize archival materials into flat-file cases at Sitka National Historical Park.

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Exhibit Mount Making Workshop

The Kodiak Historical Society & Baranov Museum would like to extend an invitation to join them for an Exhibit AK mount making workshop in Kodiak!

They welcome all Alaska Museum Professionals interested in mount making to join them. It is a great opportunity to connect with fellow museum professionals in Alaska, share resources, and gain hands-on experience with exhibit mount making!

What: 3-day Exhibit Mount Making Workshop

When: Mon, May 21 – Wed, May 23
Where: Baranov Museum
101 E Marine Way Kodiak, AK 99615

The cost of the class and toolkit is $400/person. You will receive a kit to take away with you including:

  • MAP Gas Bottle
  • Solder
  • Jewelry files
  • Jewelry pliers & cutters
  • Tube bender
  • Eye protection
  • Third hands
  • Tweezers
  • vermiculite blocks
  • Self-healing mat
  • Box cutter
  • Awl
  • Toolbox

This workshop will be held on-site at the Baranov Museum in preparation for their upcoming exhibit redesign (more information here).

Please contact them at collections@baranovmuseum.org by Friday 4/20 if you are able to attend as space is limited. They are happy to recommend lodging and provide travel advice as well.

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Valdez Museum Call for Artists

The Valdez Museum is now accepting exhibit proposals for Summer 2019 through 2021.

Deadline: May 25, 2018, 5 PM.

Check out the guidelines here: VMHA Exhibit Guidelines_rev.

Check out the proposal form here: VMHA Exhibit Proposal Form .

See https://www.valdezmuseum.org/exhibits/ for more info or contact Andrew Goldstein at 907-835-2764.

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Valdez Museum Seeks Administrative Marketing Coordinator



Are you a creative, detailed and organized individual who is looking for a great job environment?

If this sounds like you…

The Valdez Museum seeks a Full Time, fully benefited Administrative Marketing Coordinator. The individual must be flexible to work additional as needed to get projects completed and also requires an ability to meet deadlines. The best suited individual will have the ability to interact will all levels of staff and management, creatively solve issues and is detailed oriented. Position is responsible for updating the museums website, social media platforms, MailChimp, creating the quarterly magazine, promotional materials, assist with the store, visitor service and assist the Executive Director and Board of Directors. $18,00/ hour to start. Position is open immediately. For more information and a detailed job description please visit the Valdez Museum website at https://www.valdezmuseum.org/about-us/career-opportunities/

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Pratt Museum Hiring

The Pratt Museum in Homer has five position openings. See their posting below:

The Pratt Museum is looking for energetic and creative folks to join our team this spring, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and launch into the next 50 years of community programming! Applications can be picked up at the Museum’s front desk (12-5 PM, Tues-Sat) or downloaded from our website.

Current opportunities:

• Administrative Assistant (15 hrs/wk, year-round)
• Engagement Coordinator (30 hrs/wk, year-round)
• Facilities Coordinator (32-40 hrs/wk; April-October)
• Gardener (Part-time, April-Sept)
• Visitor Services Coordinator (April 30-Sept 3)

For more information, visit: www.prattmuseum.org/get-involved/employment/

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Joint Annual Conference: Tara Taro

This article was written by 2017 Donna Matthews Professional Development Fund scholarship recipient Tara Taro.

As a first-time attendee of a professional development conference like the Annual Conference held by Museums Alaska and Alaska Historical Society, I expected to attend many sessions focused on how museums function, why they are important, and new techniques to keep a museum functioning satisfactorily. While I did attend workshop and many sessions covering these concepts, what I did not expect was the overwhelming amount of active researchers getting the opportunity to present their current focus at the conference. The ability to have a platform to discuss research topics and collaborate with other researchers or museum professionals is crucial to maintaining the gathering of knowledge about our world. I felt a sense of that great Alaskan pride seeing the support for these researchers and the opportunity for them to seek help and encouragement from their peers.

On Thursday morning, I wandered into the auditorium for a session titled, Frontier Trailblazers, the first Alaska Historical Society session I had attended. It was so refreshing to witness researchers being able to talk freely through their findings, ask help from peers in the area, and generally, get a moment to feel proud of the work they have already accomplished, even if there is more information to gather (and let’s face it, there is always more information to gather). As Alaskans, isolated from the rest of the United States, it can sometimes be difficult to even begin researching a topic. This was widely evident when speaker Pat Garrett of McCarthy came to the podium to discuss her research on the infamous Kate Kennedy. It was obvious that not only was Pat passionate about her study of Kate but that she also had gathered a wealth of information on her, being able to chart a good portion of her life and experiences. Then a surprise I was not expecting came. Pat revealed that the majority of her research came primarily from hand-searching through archival materials as she did not have electricity or internet at her house at the time she began this project. In this day and age, the internet and databases streamline the tedious process of collecting evidence for research. Pat did not have those processes at her disposal and yet she has tracked Kate’s life to the extent that those in the audience felt as though they knew her. At least, I felt I did. I cannot wait to see what Pat discovers now with her newly installed electricity at her house. The limits are boundless.

This conference allowed us to get a glimpse into some of these research topics, people, and events that are being explored today and attendees were encouraged to keep these topics, people, and events in mind while scouring their own archives. And that, I personally believe, is the best outcome this conference can bring to this community – the ability to have statewide collaboration, cooperation, and support.

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Advocacy vs. Neutrality: Katelyn Dickerson

This article was written by 2017 Donna Matthews Professional Development Fund scholarship recipient Katelyn Dickerson.

The 2017 Museums Alaska Conference held in Anchorage revolved around the central them of social discourse in public institutions. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site senior vice president, Sean Kelly, explored this idea in his keynote address and break-off session. The question of advocacy versus neutrality is not which is better; it is what do these ideas mean and how do we employ them? How do we, as institutions, properly advocate for an idea while still remaining comprehensive, respected, educational organizations? Neutrality is a contradiction within itself. As long as exhibits are human-made, the inherent bias of man will be present.

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In the sessions I attended regarding advocacy, the overwhelming sentiment was that museums should be advocates. Despite this consensus among the attending museum representatives, it was also clear that it was much easier said than done. Attendees were at a bit of a loss as to how to take on controversial topics within the unique Alaskan landscape. Museums in Alaskan communities struggle with the isolation and community pressures associated with living in small, close-knit, often politically-divided towns. The break-off session facilitated by Kelly on Saturday afternoon highlighted the shared apprehension surrounding controversial topics within museums and why that might look different in Alaska.

Kelly had the group use an anonymous text-in program to survey the break-off session participants. As a whole, we found that the professionals in the room were primarily left-leaning, while we saw our communities and boards were much more diverse, if not right-leaning. This discord in itself is an issue echoed across the museum community and pulls into question adequate reflection of museum visitors, particularly socio, political, and economic diversity in staff. How do we make up for the fact that often-times like-minded individuals are creating ideas for the public? Naturally the first step is to acknowledge this disconnect and be aware of potential personal and institutional biases. Awareness leads to educated exhibits and an institutional honesty. If we are honest with ourselves about personal and institutional biases our interpretation will likewise be honest to our audience.

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A word cloud made with words professionals in the break-off session felt best decribed how they feel after the session regarding controversial subjects.

Making the conscious, institutional change to advocacy as opposed to neutrality is difficult and can seem overwhelming. Several institutions including the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site and the Juneau Douglas City Museum found that highlighting particular artists who made social statements within their artwork, was a more passive way of advocating. The artist took a position, but the institution chose the artist; although the focus of the audience is on the artist the statement is in reality a joint collaboration with the institution.

As museum professionals push their institutions and their audiences to re-understand museums as living, educational centers who have an active role in present day conversations, the professional community must likewise strive for open communication and support. The 2017 Museums Alaska Conference identified this burgeoning role of museums and gave Alaskan professionals the platform to discuss the realities of advocacy in a changing world.

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Juneau-Douglas City Museum Seeks Museum Director

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

37.5 hours per week
$58,383.00 – $62,283.00 Annually (DOQ)
(Note: This position is in-eligible for overtime pay)

This is a fully benefited position. The City and Borough of Juneau offers a competitive
salary package that includes the opportunity for regular wage increases, an excellent
health insurance program, paid leave, and retirement credit through PERS (Public
Employees’ Retirement System).

Under general direction, coordinates, implements and manages the program planning, development and operation of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum and supervises staff performing functions related to collection management, exhibits and educational programming. This position also develops and monitors the budget and long range plans and serves as a liaison with community and civic agencies and professional organizations.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college with a major in Museum Studies, History, Anthropology, Fine Arts, Art History, English, Communication, or a related liberal arts field.


Two (2) years of professional level museum, archives, or library experience; AND

One (1) year of supervisory experience. (May be gained concurrently).

Substitution: Graduate coursework in Museum Studies, Museum Sciences, Museology, or a closely related field may be substituted for appropriate museum experience on a year for year basis. There is no substitution for the supervisory experience.

For the full job description and information on how to apply, see the Job Announcement (PDF).