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  • Thursday, March 25, 2021 11:40 AM | Selena Ortega-Chiolero (Administrator)

    House and Senate Appropriations Letters Now Circulating (Senate Deadline Friday 3/26) - Ask Your Legislators to Sign On Today!

    Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), David McKinley (R-WV), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Andy Barr (R-KY), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are now circulating letters in their respective chambers calling for robust FY 2022 funding for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The deadline for Senators to join this letter is end-of-day Friday, March 26. The deadline for Representatives to sign is Friday, April 16. See the list of current signers below to determine whether your Senators or Representative has signed on. If so, be sure to thank them.

    If not, take a couple of minutes to use our template and ask your Representative and Senators to sign on today. These letters are a key measure of legislators' support for federal funding for museums, and they are especially important now to build on our momentum from Museums Advocacy Day. If you contacted your legislators already but have yet to hear back, please send another round of letters. Securing these signatures sometimes takes several touches, and reaching out again can help make sure your voice is heard.

    Please contact your Representative and Senators today!

    SBA to Begin Accepting Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applications April 8

    On March 19, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in preparation for opening applications for the much-anticipated critical economic relief program on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

    Prior to the official SVOG application opening, the SBA will host a national informational webinar to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities from 2:30 to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Those interested in participating can register here. You can find Frequently Asked Questions about SVOG, a preliminary application checklist, and other information on the SBA's SVOG site.

    Last week the House passed legislation (H.R. 1799), advocated for by the Alliance, extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline to May 31 (from March 31). The Senate is expected to pass the extension this week with President Biden expected to sign it into law shortly thereafter. Nonprofits, including eligible museums, may apply for the PPP prior to applying for an SVO as they await the application. The SBA would then reduce any SVO grant award by the PPP amount received. (See March 12 Alliance Advocacy Alert.)

    Current FY 2022 Senate Office of Museum Services Signers (alphabetical by state):

    Letter sponsors indicated in bold. Use our Legislator Directory to identify your legislators.

    • Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
    • Alex Padilla (D-CA)
    • Chris Murphy (D-CT)
    • Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI)
    • Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
    • Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)
    • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
    • Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
    • Susan M. Collins (R-ME)
    • Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME)
    • Gary C. Peters (D-MI)
    • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
    • Tina Smith (D-MN)
    • John Tester (D-MT)
    • Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH)
    • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
    • Cory A. Booker (D-NJ)
    • Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
    • Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
    • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    • Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
    • Ron Wyden (D-OR)
    • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    • Tim Kaine (D-VA)
    • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

    Current FY 2022 House Office of Museum Services Signers (alphabetical by state):

    Letter sponsors indicated in bold. Use our Legislator Directory to identify your legislators.

    • Don Young (R-AK-01)
    • Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07)
    • Julia Brownley (D-CA-26)
    • Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24)
    • Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11)
    • John Garamendi (D-CA-03)
    • Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20)
    • Jackie Speier (D-CA-14)
    • Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15)
    • Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
    • Kathy Castor (D-FL-14)
    • Sanford D. Bishop (D-GA-02)
    • Lucy McBath (D-GA-06)
    • Michael F. Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam)
    • Kaiali'i Kahele (D-HI-02)
    • Sean Casten (D-IL-06)
    • Danny K. Davis (D-IL-07)
    • Rodney Davis (R-IL-13)
    • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09)
    • Andy Barr (R-KY-06)
    • Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08)
    • Seth Moulton (D-MA-06)
    • Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01)
    • Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07)
    • Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08)
    • Jared Golden (D-ME-02)
    • Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01)
    • Haley Stevens (D-MI-11)
    • Billy Long (R-MO-07)
    • Deborah Ross (D-NC-02)
    • Chris Pappas (D-NH-01)
    • Donald M. Payne, JR (D-NJ-10)
    • Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-02)
    • Dina Titus (D-NV-01)
    • Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19)
    • Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25)
    • Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21)
    • Paul Tonko (D-NY-20)
    • Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01)
    • Madeleine Dean (D-PA-4)
    • Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05)
    • Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR-AL)
    • David N. Cicilline (D-RI-01)
    • Steve Cohen (D-TN-09)
    • Jim Cooper (D-TN-05)
    • Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15)
    • Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18)
    • Marc Veasey (D-TX-33)
    • Filemon Vela (D-TX-34)
    • Peter Welch (D-VT-01)
    • Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA-01)
    • Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07)
    • Gwen S. Moore (D-WI-04)
    • David McKinley (R-WV-01)

    Thank you for your continued advocacy for museums. Visit www.aam-us.org/advocacy to access all of AAM's advocacy resources.

  • Monday, March 22, 2021 1:47 PM | Selena Ortega-Chiolero (Administrator)

    Museums Alaska is looking forward to a conference in Fall 2021, but due to the economic impact of the recent COVID-19 shutdowns and concerns for public health, the Museums Alaska Board has decided to pursue a Virtual Conference this Fall. Visit the Museums Alaska Annual Meeting page for more information.

  • Tuesday, March 16, 2021 2:04 PM | Selena Ortega-Chiolero (Administrator)

    Over the last six-months, the Western Museums Association (WMA) has been collaboratively working with the other six U.S. regional museum associations to bring to life a nationwide initiative dedicated to providing free, self-paced training resources for small museums – the Museum Learning Hub!

    Registration opens soon for Module 1: Digital Accessibility and Inclusion!

    The inaugural series is funded by a National Leadership Grant for Museums award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

  • Tuesday, March 16, 2021 1:54 PM | Selena Ortega-Chiolero (Administrator)

    For over 40 years, the Forum has invested in Alaska artists, writers, historians, filmmakers, and community conveners. This funding fuels creative projects that share and preserve the stories of people across the state and explore what it means to be Alaskan. The Forum’s annual grants support innovative, independent projects that engage, inform, and connect people across Alaska through the humanities.

    In 2021, the Forum is offering two types of funding: annual grants and event sponsorships.  Please read below for details of each.

    Annual Grant Projects - annual review
    Applications open March 15; due April 30, 2021
    Up to $15,000 per grant
    Grant awards will be announced May 15.

    Project Categories include:

    • Publication - book, report, catalogue
    • Digital product - podcast, website, digitization/archiving
    • Film - including outreach and engagement
    • Oral history - including cultural literacy projects
    • Exhibit - virtual or in-person (as allowed)

    Event Sponsorships - quarterly review
    Up to $2,000 per grant
    Applications due: June 15, September 15, December 15, March 15

    Within the Event Sponsorship category, the Forum supports events that bring people together for civil discussion inclusive of diverse perspectives, in person or virtually. Through these programs, participants hone skills of inquiry, analysis, reflection, evaluation, empathy, and conversation, enriching both their private lives and their communities.

    For more information on how to apply, please visit the Alaska Humanities Forum website at:


  • Wednesday, February 24, 2021 4:42 AM | Sarah Asper-Smith (Administrator)

    Small Museums Scholarship Application 2021 AASLH Online Conference, October 12-15 DEADLINE: August 1, 2021

    The American Association for State and Local History will again hold an online conference this fall, October 12-15, following the in-person conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, September 22-25. This year’s theme for the dual conferences, “Doing History, Doing Justice,” will take an active orientation – how do history organizations and practitioners DO justice? We will look at how we do our work and how people are impacted by our work, unpacking the notion of “justice” in all its dimensions.

    Every year, increasing numbers of conference sessions address issues specifically affecting small museums. These sessions can be as practical and wide-ranging as training, marketing, and strategic planning. Other sessions focus on creative ways to forge and re-energize relationships with the surrounding community.

    Now in its sixteenth year, AASLH’s Small Museums Committee is offering several scholarships to AASLH members who are full-time, part-time, paid, or volunteer employees of small museums. Each scholarship will cover one Full Access registration for the online conference. Acceptance of the scholarship is contingent upon recipients submitting a post to the AASLH blog about their online conference experience.

    Please note: Small Museums Scholarships are only being awarded for the online conference.

    To qualify, the applicant must work for a museum with a budget of $250,000 or less. They also must either be an individual AASLH member or work for an institutional member.

    The deadline for applications is August 1, 2021. The committee will email award winners by September 1. For questions, please contact Bruce Teeple, Small Museums Scholarship Subcommittee Chair, at mongopawn44@hotmail.com, or Alex Collins, AASLH Professional Development Manager, at collins@aaslh.org or 615-320-3203.

    To apply for this scholarship, please go to: https://aaslh.submittable.com/submit/188266/2021-small-museums-scholarship

    Thank you,

    Bruce Teeple

    SMC Scholarship Subcommittee Chair

    The future of these scholarships rests on the generosity of members across the museum community. Please consider donating to this scholarship fund: https://aaslh.site-ym.com/donations/donate.asp?id=14241

  • Monday, October 12, 2020 8:56 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    CONTACT: Monica Garcia-Itchoak, Board President
    Email: president@museumsalaska.org                                    


    Press Release: Museums Alaska Leadership Transition

    The  Board of Directors for Museums Alaska has accepted the resignation of Della Hall as Executive Director of the organization effective Friday, October 30, 2020.

    Ms. Hall served Museums Alaska as a  board member from 2015 to 2017 before accepting the position of Executive Director in 2017. As Executive Director, she transitioned to the first full-time employee for Museums Alaska in 2020.   Della has advanced the mission of Museums Alaska over the past three years through her dedicated and responsive leadership in areas such as advocacy, online programs, and financial stewardship.

    The Board of Directors plans to immediately begin the search for a new Executive Director of Museums Alaska and intends to have a new leader onboard by the end of the year.


  • Thursday, October 08, 2020 9:30 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release
    Museums Alaska
    P.O. Box 756960, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6960
    Phone (907) 474-5484
    Home page: https://museumsalaska.org

    DATE: Thursday, October 8, 2020
    CONTACT: Della Hall, Executive Director

    Four awards announced at the Museums Alaska Annual Meeting on September 25th celebrated significant contributions to Alaska’s collecting institutions. Given by Museums Alaska, the awards are the result of a statewide nominating and peer review process. Three individuals—Anjuli Grantham, Kas Spahr, and Patricia Relay—along with the Juneau Douglas City Museum and Koniag, Inc. were honored.

    The newest award established this year honors those that roll up their sleeves to help museums succeed, through their service or philanthropy. Two awards were given for Museum Champion. Anjuli Grantham, Curator of Statewide Services at the Alaska State Museum, was honored for her service to all museums in Alaska. When presenting her award, Amy Steffian said, “Anjuli is our go to person for help with all things related to museums. Whatever your question she will help you find an answer or someone to talk to. She is a marvelous connector.”

    Tom Panamarof was present to receive the second award for Museum Champion on behalf of Koniag, Inc. Koniag is the regional ANCSA corporation for the Kodiak area and one of the founding and governing organizations of the Alutiiq Museum. Their nomination letter said:

    The Alutiiq value of sharing at the forefront of Koniag’s leadership. In classical Alutiiq society hunters gave away their catch to make sure everyone was fed. The most imminent need was addressed first before food or resources were stockpiled. Hunters knew that acting generously created strong communities and that together hard work and respectful action would lead to future prosperity. Koniag, Inc.’s value of Sharing the Catch, comes from this tradition. The corporation’s philanthropy is based in a deep cultural understanding that success comes from providing for others.

    Koniag was honored for their pivotal support of the Alutiiq Museum over the past two years, and particularly through the pandemic.

    The Award for Excellence in the Museum Field went to the Juneau Douglas City Museum for the Funter Bay Project. This annual award is given in recognition of an outstanding museum program, project, or initiative from the past year. These are efforts that have had a significant impact on an organization or a community and are a model for others in the museum field. Funter Bay is on Admiralty Island, opposite the City of Juneau. It is the place where Unangan people from the Pribilof Islands and the Aleutian Islands were interned during World War II. The Juneau Douglas City Museum is working to preserve and share this little known chapter of Alaskan history and to expand Funter Bay Marine Park to include the cemetery where Unangan people were buried and add interpretive signs to the park. Their nomination letter said:

    The public, tribal, and private partners who have come together to document and share this history are incredible. JDCM staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that the story that they are sharing is the story that the Pribilof residents want to share.

    They have created an exhibit for their museum in partnership with Unagan people and are also planning an oral history project to further document their experiences.

    Kas Spahr, who has dedicated two decades of volunteer support to two Anchorage area museums, received the Volunteer of the Year award. This award acknowledges the crucial roles volunteers have in Alaska’s museums. It celebrates a person who has made a significant contribution through their gift of volunteer service. Spahr was honored for her dependable, twice-weekly, presence first in the Anchorage Museum and more recently at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, particularly in their collections departments.

    Lastly, the Presidents’ Award went to recognize an outstanding individual advocate for all Alaska museums. Patricia Relay, Director of the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive, was honored for her many years of dedication to all Alaska museums. Relay has been recognized by the American Alliance of Museums as a 5-time attendee in 2018 for her participation in Museums Advocacy Day in Washington, DC and continues to engage state and national leaders on the importance of museums in our communities. Monica Garcia-Itchoak, when presenting the award, stated: “Patty is a leader in our state. She is the first one to pick up the phone, send an email, write the template letters, and educate us on the necessary step in raising our voices for museums across the state.”

    Museums Alaska is a statewide professional organization supporting Alaska’s collecting institutions and their staff members and volunteers. The non-profit organization supports the improvement of museum services and promotes public awareness of the value of the state’s museums and cultural centers. A nine-member volunteer board governs Museums Alaska with funding from memberships, grants, gifts, and sales.

  • Wednesday, August 26, 2020 3:21 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Museums Alaska invites nominations for four awards  and recognition to be given out at this year's Annual Meeting, September 25th. The deadline to submit a nomination is August 31st, 2020.

    Nominations may be submitted for:


    Nominations for the Award for Excellence may be made for exceptional exhibits, collections care, planning, marketing, publications, significant improvements to physical plant, conservation, etc. To nominate an individual, museum or program, write a description explaining who or what you are nominating, how many people it affected, what contribution was made to the museum field, and any other significant details.


    Nominations for the Volunteer of the Year Award acknowledge the crucial roles volunteers perform in our museum communities. Help us celebrate their importance to our success by nominating any volunteer, whether docent, a community supporter, or a member of your Board of Directors. They do not need to be members of Museums Alaska. Please nominate your volunteer by describing the tasks this volunteer performs, what the hourly time commitment has been, and how long this volunteer has been contributing. Describe contributions to other organizations if they are significant to cultural heritage.


    Nominations for the President’s Award in Honor of Lifetime Achievement recognize the contributions of an individual over a career. Help us celebrate their contributions by nominating an individual who is departing the field, from all sectors of the field. They do not need to be members of Museums Alaska. Please describe your nominee’s work over the years, their impact on an institution or community, and the legacy they leave behind. Describe contributions to other organizations if they are significant to cultural heritage.

    MUSEUM CHAMPION - *New this year*

    Nominations for Museum Champion may be submitted to recognize any museum donor, funder, or contributor for outstanding support of museums in Alaska, in funding or in in-kind support. Help us celebrate the support museums receive each year. Nominations may be for individuals, foundations, corporations, cities, or other supporting entities. They do not need to be members of Museums Alaska. Please submit a nomination by describing the impact to the field.

    Submit a nomination using this form.

    Find the full list of past awards here.

  • Thursday, August 20, 2020 2:06 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Museums Alaska is proud to share our 2020 Annual Report. Click the link below to download and view the report.

    Download and view full report (PDF)

  • Thursday, June 11, 2020 10:44 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    To the Alaska Museum Community,

    The start of 2020 has seen enormous challenges for museums because of an ongoing worldwide pandemic. And, in recent weeks we have witnessed our country’s struggles with racism. We know these are extremely difficult times. The uncertainty of museums depends on all of us shifting our mindset and leaning into uncomfortable conversations. As museums across the state begin to reopen, we have an opportunity and responsibility to be brave and stand in solidarity.

    Alaska is no different – racism towards the Alaska Native Peoples is alive. The majority of the museums throughout the state steward many Indigenous peoples’ objects and stories. We must recognize and acknowledge the land these museums sit on. Museums are spaces for gathering, learning, and connection. We ask you to join us in collectively stepping up and leading within our institutions.

    In 2017, the Museums Alaska Board of Directors and staff have prioritized diversity, equity, inclusive, and accessibility work. It is part of our core values and purpose. Museums Alaska has been fortunate to seek out keynote speakers who shape the roles museums can play in fostering racial justice. In 2017, Sean Kelley from Eastern State Penitentiary spoke about going beyond neutrality in museums; In 2019, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko addressed decolonization in museums calling out systemic racism perpetuated by oppression in our institutions. We know there is still more to do, and we are committed to supporting museums across Alaska in this work.

    Museums provide safe and brave platforms to hold space for difficult community conversations. It is a time for museums to look outward and be community-led and to pause and connect to the rich history of Alaska and tell those untold stories. Our mission is to strengthen Alaska’s museums which empowers us to stand in solidarity with each of us and enables us be truth-tellers in our organizations.

    We want to hear from you. What are you doing to shift the conversation with your Board of Directors, with your staff, with your strategic partners, members, patrons, funders, and sister museums? How can we effectively share best practices and examples of museums creating unity, equity, and social justice? Below is a list of resources compiled from the 2019 Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion conference held in Kodiak. This list is not comprehensive, and if you have additional resources you would like to see added, please forward to director@museumsalaska.org.

    We support you during these difficult and challenging times and commend you for your resilience and commitment to the preservation of culture, history, art, and science. Please stay safe, healthy, and in good spirits.


    Della Hall 
    Executive Director       
    Museums Alaska 

    Monica Garcia-Itchoak
    Board President   
    Museums Alaska

    Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, & Inclusion Resources

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