September 14, 2021

2021 Online Conference

Museums Alaska is holding its 2021 Annual Meeting on September 13-14 & 20-21 as a virtual conference via Whova (#MA2021). 

The conference is free to everyone thanks to a generous sponsorship by Rasmuson Foundation.

We hope to see you there! Even if it’s just for one event or session.

This event is also available on the Whova Mobile App.
You can interact with others on your phone in the app more conveniently wherever you go.

September 13, 2021

TimeSession TitleDescriptionSpeakers

09:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Welcome and Awards

Join us for an official welcome to #MA2021: The 2021 Annual Museums Alaska Conference! Following the welcome, we will announce our annual conference awards and hear from our awardees! We hope to see you all there as we launch our virtual conference.

Alex McKay; Amy Phillips-Chan; Dixie Clough

10:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Keynote – Curating in Crisis: Seeking Opportunities within Pandemic Constraints
Join us for our opening keynote talk!
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.
Benjamin Filene

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Guided Conversation: Alaska and Cultural Tourism
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.
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

Karen Kroon; Christina Colvin; Mandy Garcia

12:30 PM – 01:30 PM

Guided Conversation: Resilience and Strategic Planning
Anderson will discuss 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.
Gail Anderson

06:00 PM – 07:30 PM

Emerging Museum Professionals Meet & Greet
If you’re new to the museum world, then this event is for you! The Alaska Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP) Network is a group of museum workers in their first ten years in the field—we’re here to help problem solve, brainstorm, provide trainings, and build a supportive community.

If you are in your first ten years of museum work, please join us for a Happy Hour Zoom event! This is a chance to get to know one another and talk about what you might like to see from the Alaska EMP group: trainings, networking events, etc.

This is a super informal event, so feel free to drop in and stay for a few minutes, or for the entire event. We’re excited to meet you!

We also have a Facebook page ( to stay in touch, and a page on the national EMP site here:

Ashley Bivin

September 14, 2021

TimeSession TitleDescriptionSpeakers

09:00 AM – 11:00 AM

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.

Selena Ortega-Chiolero; April Counceller; Terry Snowball; Steve Henrikson; Brandon Castle; Kim Christen

11:30 AM – 01:30 PM

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

The workshop includes a labeling kit, an introduction to the kit contents, a powerpoint presentation of labeling material-by-material, and a Q & A opportunity.

Kits priced at $75 including shipping will be will be sent to participants, and include a dropper bottle for acetone (solvent not shipped), cotton swabs, B-72 adhesive, a mini-funnel, a brush bottle, assorted needles, Tyvek, marking pens, a photo pencil, precision scissors, precision tweezers, tags, thread, white vinyl eraser, labeling paper, and instruction booklet.

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 Carrlee

06:00 PM – 07:00 PM

Lightning Talk Event
This is our first Lightning Talk event—a series of two-minute, lighthearted or informative presentations about what your colleagues have been up to! Join us to hear a grab bag of presentation topics and leave with renewed inspiration and admiration for your colleagues!
Scott Bartlett

September 20, 2021

TimeSession TitleDescriptionSpeakers

09:00 AM – 09:45 AM

Keynote Speaker: Emily Edenshaw, Alaska Native Heritage Center
Join us to hear Emily Edenshaw, President & CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, give the keynote talk to open the second week of the conference!Emily Edenshaw, PhD ABD

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Guided Conversation: Museum Administration 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.   Come to swap ideas and share solution for challenges facing Directors and Administrators in your highly specialized work.  An agenda will be provided to participants prior to the round table. Please submit any requests for Agenda topics to Addison Field.
Addison Field

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

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.  Review the provided handout to consider sample discussion questions in advance.
Molissa Udevitz; Christine Cassidy Itta; Missy Gaulke (she/her/hers)

September 21, 2021

TimeSession TitleDescriptionSpeakers

09:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Online Tools for Digital Engagement Workshop
This two-hour workshop will introduce 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? 

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

11:30 AM – 01:30 PM

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.
Paul Orselli

03:00 PM – 04:00 PM

Museums Alaska Annual Business Meeting
Join us for Museums Alaska’s Annual Business Meeting. During the meeting, we will be announcing our 2022 board slate!Museums Alaska staff and board

06:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Fun, Interactive Farewell Event
Join us for a fun night of games with museum colleagues! There will be trivia, Pictionary, a memory game, and a virtual scavenger hunt. Bring your own beverage and snacks as we celebrate the end the conference and compete for prizes (and bragging rights). See you there!Museums Alaska staff and board