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  • Wednesday, December 04, 2019 9:54 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    Ten of Alaska’s collecting institutions, in seven communities from Sitka to Fairbanks, have been awarded $102,220 in grants. The awards will support the acquisition of artwork through a fund created by Rasmuson Foundation and administered by Museums Alaska.

    The Art Acquisition Fund invites museums and culture centers to submit proposals to purchase recent works by contemporary Alaskan artists. Now in its seventeenth year, this initiative has helped institutions across Alaska enhance their collections, interpret contemporary themes, and support hundreds of visual artists. This fall, ten museums received a total of $102,220 to purchase 20 pieces of artwork from 15 Alaskan artists—including works in media of acrylic, oil, mixed media, carving, fabric, beadwork, spruce root, elk hide, and walrus ivory.

    This round, a commission of 10 oil paintings was funded. The Alaska Aviation Museum will purchase the portraits made by Christine Smith depicting animals significant to Alaskan aviation history.

    The fund will offer additional grants in 2020. For eligibility information, application deadlines, and submission directions, please visit the Museums Alaska website.

    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 culture centers. A nine-member volunteer board governs Museums Alaska with funding from memberships, grants, gifts, and sales.

    ART ACQUISITION FUND AWARDS NOVEMBER 2019

    Alaska Aviation Museum

    Christine Smith                       Nome and Back Again                                                            $1,200

                                                    A commission of ten oil paintings                              $5,000

    John Hume                              Black Wolf Squadron                                                  $4,200

    Alaska State Museum

    Amy Meissner                         Materfamilias                                                             $8,000

    Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository

    Andrew Abyo                           Sugpiaq Angyaq model                                               $4,500

    Mary Jane Longrich                Nootka Rose                                                                $500

    Melinda Abyo                          Woman's Headdress                                                   $5,000

    Patricia Abston Cox                 Emerald Isle Headdress                                              $1,700

    Woody Koning                         Sound of Fog                                                               $1,225

    Anchorage Museum

    Amy Meissner                         Fatigue Threshold                                                       $7,000

    Rachel Mulvihill                      Dream House                                                              $650

    Rachel Mulvihill                      Southern Exposure                                                      $650

    Ilanka Cultural Center

    Sylvia Lange                            Raven Catching Some Rays                                         $500

    Sylvia Lange                            Young Eagle Dreams                                                  $500

    Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center

    James Heaton                         Flying Raven #5                                                           $7,000

    Kodiak Historical Society                             

    Lena Amason-Berns                It's All Love Now                                                         $6,500

    Sealaska Heritage Institute

    Nicholas Galanin                     A tú (Inside a closed container)                                  $22,250

    Sheldon Jackson Museum

    Delores Elizabeth Churchill    Untitled                                                                       $15,000

    University of Alaska Museum of the North

    Da-ka-xeen Mehner                Gaaw Kootéeyaa                                                         $10,125

    Da-ka-xeen Mehner                Take n Give (after Erica Lord)                                                $720

  • Wednesday, December 04, 2019 8:32 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    The following article was written by 2019 Donna Matthews Professional Development Fund conference scholarship recipient Marni Rickelman.

    MUSEUMS. ARE. NOT. NEUTRAL. Given my newness to the museum field, I was really looking forward to meeting museum professionals from across the state at this year’s conference, and the “Critical Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion” theme was especially appealing to me. The Outside-In: Changing Roles, Shifting Goals session with Dawn Biddison, Nadia Jackinsky-Sethi, and Melissa Shaginoff felt particularly relevant to my work. The importance of land acknowledgments and breaking established memory narratives was reaffirmed. I learned that the terms “Indiginize” and “material culture” are preferred over “decolonize” and “objects”, and that there is precedent for exhibits having a space set aside to allow viewers to honor the exhibit/material culture with a prayer or blessing. I left the conference with thoughts and ideas churning about in my mind.

    Two weeks after the Museums Alaska conference I was reading a thread about Indigenous People's Day on the Museum Social Media Managers Facebook group. There was a great discussion on whether museums need to take a stand on issues that may be potentially controversial in their individual communities, and how to do so when you don’t have agreement or a unified statement from all who represent your organization. A member of the group, George Garner, wrote: "Once more for those who need it: Museums. Are. Not. Neutral. If you're not doing something today, of all days… then you're continuing to do harm."

    It’s now been a month since the conference and I’ve thought a lot about the various sessions on cultural appropriation, inclusivity, equity, and standard museum practices, as well as speaking with coworkers and my standard perusal of various online publications. I have realized that while I consider myself an advocate of diversity and inclusion, I have played it safe. And that stings. Non-confrontational by nature, I thought working for a municipality meant I had to make everyone in my community happy. (That’s largely what we aim for with programs and marketing, no?) Given the state of affairs throughout Alaska and our nation, I believe it necessary to not shy away from bringing dialogue out into the open and having those sometimes difficult conversations. And to remember that museums do not need to be neutral. As museum educators, it is our responsibility to help make that space in our communities to be accountable and discuss the issues directly affecting our audiences. While that may sometimes be a challenge for some of us, I hope to be compassionate and empathetic while working to find successful ways to engage our community on issues related to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. I greatly value the tools I acquired at the Museums Alaska conference to help me work toward these goals!

    Panel from the The Art of Powerful Questions session at he 2019 Museums Alaska Conference.

  • Monday, November 11, 2019 9:47 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    Four of Alaska’s collecting institutions, in four different communities from Ketchikan to Anchorage, have been awarded $32,163 in grants. The awards will support collections care projects through funds created by Rasmuson Foundation and administered by Museums Alaska.

    Established in 2013, the Collections Management Fund supports projects that advance the preservation of museum collections with awards of up to $15,000. The fund provides critical support for the care of objects documenting Alaska’s cultural and natural heritage. In October, Museums Alaska selected four projects to fund. The funded projects include management and accessibility improvements for archival collections, large object storage improvements, and a community-focused conservation internship.

    The fund will offer additional grants in 2020. For eligibility information, application deadlines, and submission directions, please visit our grants page.

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

    COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT FUND AWARDS FALL 2019

    Anchorage Museum Association—$4,700 for Community-Focused Conservation Internship

    Ketchikan Museums—$7,803.14 for Research Room Large Object Storage Project

    Kodiak Historical Society—$4,990.80 for Archives Access Project

    Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center—$14,670 for Archives Management and Accessibility Project 

    Press Release (PDF)

  • Monday, July 29, 2019 8:23 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    8/29/2019 UPDATE: The below information was provided to the museum advocacy community in July 2019. As of August 2019, the Governor signed a three year deal with the University of Alaska System, which no longer targets the Museum of the North.

    The Alaska State Governor's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has proposed a two-year reduction in funding to the University of Alaska system in targeted areas, eliminating all funding for the Museum of the North this fiscal year.

    As members of the statewide museum community, your voice matters on this issue.

    You can reach the Governor and your legislators by email, phone, social media, or mail. 

    You can also contact the University of Alaska Board of Regents and President:

    UA Board of Regents Website

    UA Board of Regents Email

    UA President Website

    UA President Email

    The Governor can be reached the following ways:

    Email the Governor

    Governor's mailing address and phone number

    Find out who your Senators and Representatives are with this interactive map, and then find their contact information below:

    Alaska State Senate

    Alaska House of Representatives

    The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) maintains an Advocacy webpage that allows you to find your elected officials by entering your address. There you will find your federal and state elected officials, including address, phone number, and social media handles.

    Consider sharing a Facebook post or Tweet and tagging your elected officials:

    "The University of Alaska Museum of the North means so much to me. Please help protect these resources @[insert social media handle]"

    You can also send a 50 word message to your legislators, using the link below.

    Write a 50 word message

    Museums Alaska member Angela Linn has shared an article on her personal blog  about this issue.

    Museums Alaska's Board of Directors has identified education funding to the Museum of the North as one of our top legislative priorities this year.

    Letter from the Museums Alaska Board of Directors to the University of Alaska Board of Regents

    Please be sure to subscribe to our digital mailing list to stay up to date on this and other advocacy calls to action as they occur.

    Museums Alaska maintains resources on our website to help you navigate the Alaska legislative process here. We will continue to share more resources and information as it becomes available.

    We also hold a monthly Advocacy Task Force teleconference meeting, that is open to anyone interested in advocating on behalf of Alaska's museums. Please join us!

  • Tuesday, July 02, 2019 10:25 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    8/29/2019 UPDATE: The below information was provided to the museum advocacy community in July 2019. As of August 2019, the Governor has signed a budget that reinstates funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

    The Governor's vetoes eliminated funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA), which would eliminate this state agency from the Department of Education and Early Development.

    All 50 states in the U.S., and its six jurisdictions, have a state arts agency. The charge of a state arts agency is to ensure that communities receive the civic, economic, educational, and cultural benefits of the arts.

    ASCA maintains the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank, provides grants to many museums in the state, and has been a strong advocacy partner on behalf of arts and humanities in Alaska.

    If the veto stands, $1.5 million in private foundation funds (twice that of the state allocation to ASCA) meant to benefit Alaskans will be returned to would-be funders.

    As members of the statewide museum community, your voice matters on this issue. 

    The Alaska Legislature approved HB 2001 which adds funding for ASCA back into the budget. The Governor will either sign or veto this bill (in full or by line).

    The Governor can be reached the following ways:

    Email the Governor

    Governor's mailing address and phone number

    Some things to mention:

    • ASCA, like every other state arts agency in the nation, receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. A requirement of receiving these federal funds is that they be matched 1:1 by the state. Should state funding dip below the NEA allocation, ALL federal funding goes away.
    • State and federal funds going to ASCA represent less than half of the overall budget – the rest (about 55%) comes from private, non-governmental sources including Alaskan and national foundations which invest in Alaska for the benefit of all Alaskans.
    • ASCA's FY2019 state appropriation of $692,800 comprised 0.015% of Alaska state general fund expenditures, just over 1-100th of 1% of all state spending.
    • For every $1 that ASCA awards, grantees secure an additional $27 in local match, private contributions and earned income.
    • If ASCA is eliminated, over 400 pieces of art from the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank will be recalled and deaccessioned.

    You can reach your legislators by email, phone, social media, or mail.

    Find out who your Senators and Representatives are with this interactive map, and then find their contact information below:

    Alaska State Senate


    Alaska House of Representatives


    The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) maintains an Advocacy webpage that allows you to find your elected officials by entering your address. There you will find your federal and state elected officials, including address, phone number, and social media handles. 

    Consider sharing a Facebook post or Tweet and tagging your elected officials:

    "I support the Alaska State Council on the Arts, which provides valuable resources to the state of Alaska and my community. Please support the continuation of ASCA @[insert social media handle]"

    You can also send a 50 word message to your legislators, using the link below.

    Write a 50 word message

    Museums Alaska's Board of Directors has named supporting ASCA as one of our top legislative priorities this year. Museums Alaska maintains resources on our website to help you navigate the Alaska legislative process here. We will continue to share more resources and information as it becomes available.

    We also hold a monthly Advocacy Task Force teleconference meeting, that is open to anyone interested in advocating on behalf of Alaska's museums.

  • Friday, June 14, 2019 12:57 PM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Six of Alaska’s collecting institutions, in five communities from Kodiak to Nome, have been awarded $33,350 in grants. The awards will support the acquisition of artwork through a fund created by Rasmuson Foundation and administered by Museums Alaska.

    The Art Acquisition Fund invites museums and culture centers to submit proposals to purchase recent works by contemporary Alaskan artists. Now in its seventeenth year, this initiative has helped institutions across Alaska enhance their collections, interpret contemporary themes, and support hundreds of visual artists. This summer, six museums received a total of $33,350 to purchase 7 pieces of artwork from 7 Alaskan artists—including acrylic, mixed media, colored pencil, and silver pieces.

    This round, a pair of dancing dolls and one commissioned mask were funded. The University of Alaska Museum of the North will purchase a pair of art dolls made by Mary Ellen Frank depicting a story of a man and woman participating in Eskimo Dancing (yuraq, lit. "to dance"), and Sealaska Heritage Institute will work with Tsimshian carver and art instructor John Hudson, III who will create a carved and painted wooden mask depicting the face of a shaman.

    The fund will offer additional grants in 2019. For eligibility information, application deadlines, and submission directions, please visit the Museums Alaska website.

    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 culture centers. A nine-member volunteer board governs Museums Alaska with funding from memberships, grants, gifts, and sales.

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 8:18 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    Rasmuson Foundation has named 35 artists in 18 Alaska communities as Individual Artist Award recipients for 2019. Ten individuals will receive $18,000 Fellowships and 25 artists will receive Project Awards of $7,500. Recipients were selected from a pool of 317 applicants by a panel of Lower 48 artists and creative community leaders.

    Earlier in the week, the Foundation announced its 2019 Distinguished Artist, Richard Nelson of Sitka. He is being honored with a $40,000 award for a lifetime of creative excellence.

    Common themes addressed in the work of this year’s awardees include the impacts of climate change on Alaska and exploring traditional knowledge, cultural heritage and gender identity.

    Fellowships are awarded to mid-career and mature artists ready for an intensive, yearlong project. Sara Tabbert of Fairbanks makes woodblock prints and panels revealing overlooked environments. She will develop new sculptural skills for her upcoming exhibit, “Lowland,” which will explore the strange and beautiful landscapes of Interior Alaska. The artist writes, “wild places I visit may be ecologically significant but their lack of drama leaves them unprotected and vulnerable. I believe that attention can translate to stewardship, and I want my work to inspire care for the lesser landscapes.”

    Project Awards support artists at all career stages for specific, short-term works. John S. Hagen of Haines will photograph salmon season in the village of Ugashik on the Alaska Peninsula, where his ancestors lived until the 1918 flu epidemic. “I have searched for images of Unangan people living in the Bristol Bay region,” he writes. “My searches rarely turn up recent images or stories. It’s as if they no longer exist. But we do exist. Since I cannot find those images, I need to make them — not just for myself, but also for my ancestors and for future generations.”

    The awards and fellowships provide critical financial support for working artists in all disciplines and genres, in styles ranging from traditional to experimental. Fellow Neva Mathias is best-known for her dolls made of sealskin, leather, grass and other natural materials. She will prepare hides, travel to Anchorage for supplies, and seek opportunities to teach her craft to younger artists. “The material products for my dolls are so limited out here in rural Alaska,” she writes. “Getting to Anchorage to shop for my artistic needs is so rare because it is so expensive to travel from Chevak. To be able to shop only for my art supplies would be once in a lifetime adventure for me!”

    This year marks the first time for a recipient from Big Lake. Project Awardee Rebecca Menzia is a composer who explores femininity through complex melodies, painful concepts and healing textures.

    Learn more and see a short film about the artists at our 2019 Individual Artist Award web feature.

    Artist project profiles accompany this release and also are available on the web feature. Explore the work of Richard Nelson on the Distinguished Artist web feature. Photos, videos and audio files are available upon request.

    Rasmuson Foundation began providing grants to support individual working artists in Alaska in 2004. The program has made a total of 516 awards to individual artists: 366 Project Awards, 134 Fellowships and 16 Distinguished Artist awards totaling more than $4.7 million.

    Beyond financial support, the Foundation promotes artists through social media, stories, films and our website. It also sponsors intensive workshops to help artists work profitably.

    “After 16 years and more than 500 awards to artists, this is every bit as exciting as it was when we started the program,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “The list of Project Awards and Fellowships represents a dazzling preview of upcoming performances, shows, and new works by Alaska’s most talented established and emerging artists. We can’t wait to see the results.”

    About the Foundation

    Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband, E.A. Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.

    Museums Alaska is grateful for Rasmuson Foundation's continued support of our Art Acquisition Fund and Collections Management Fund.

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 8:15 AM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    The Unalaska Public Library is seeking statements of interest from artists and craftspeople who would like to propose art projects and functional pieces that will integrate into the library expansion and improvements. Learn more by viewing the flyer below.

    Unalaska Public Library Call for Artists Flyer (PDF)

  • Tuesday, April 30, 2019 1:40 PM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    PROPOSAL DEADLINE: June 3, 2019, 5 PM.

    The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive is once again accepting exhibit proposals for its annual review. The VMHA exhibit calendar is filled through 2019; proposals are being accepted for 1st quarter 2020 and the 2021-2022 exhibit cycle. Exhibit proposals will be reviewed annually each June by a selection panel of museum staff, with a goal to finalize the museum’s exhibition schedule to planning five years in advance of exhibit production. Proposed temporary exhibitions may be related to the visual arts, regional history, environmental science, or any other topic that supports the museum’s mission to preserve, present, and interpret the heritage and culture of Valdez, the Copper River Basin, and Prince William Sound, Alaska.

    The review process has been implemented as a means of formalizing and standardizing the selection process for temporary exhibitions. Goldstein reports, “By planning well in advance with the exhibitors’ input, the museum will be able to budget its funding and work plan more efficiently.  The form will also help to reduce any bias in the selection process by evaluating proposed exhibits in the context of the museum’s mission. This form will also provide the museum with content and cost estimates for grant-writing purposes, which is important for grants that have a longer lead time for applying.” Goldstein also expresses, “I hope that this form will also encourage artists to think about how to present their own work, and how to develop a body of work that coincides well with the museum’s programming.”

    The museum’s temporary exhibits gallery is a roughly 300 square-foot space accommodating a maximum of sixty linear feet of wall space, with permanent exhibitions in the adjacent history galleries portion of the main museum. Interested exhibitors are requested to complete the Exhibit Proposal Form at https://www.valdezmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/VMHA-Exhibit-Proposal-Form.pdf; questions may be submitted to Andrew Goldstein, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, at agoldstein@valdezmuseum.org, phone number (907) 835-8905. Proposals will be reviewed mid-June; applicants will be notified by July 1, 2019.


  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019 3:41 PM | Della Hall (Administrator)

    Ten of Alaska’s collecting institutions, in eight communities from Unalaska to Fairbanks, have been awarded $76,154 in grants. The awards will support collections care projects through funds created by Rasmuson Foundation and administered by Museums Alaska.

    Established in 2013, the Collections Management Fund supports projects that advance the preservation of museum collections with awards of up to $15,000. The fund provides critical support for the care of objects documenting Alaska’s cultural and natural heritage. In April, Museums Alaska selected ten projects to fund. The funded projects include management of ethnographic collections and plant records, upgrading textile and basket storage, digitizing oral history tapes and movies, and two collections internships.

    The fund will offer additional grants in 2019. For eligibility information, application deadlines, and submission directions, please visit the Museums Alaska Collections Management Fund webpage.

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

    COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT FUND AWARDS SPRING 2019

    Alaska Aviation Museum—$14,812.16 for Accessioning & Records Management Project

    Alaska Botanical Garden—$6,510.00 for Photography and Signage Project

    Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository—$10,144.68 for Clark Bequest Project

    Cordova Historical Society and Museum—$5,157.00 for CHS Archive/Research Room Equipment

    Pratt Museum—$6,070.44 for Renovation wrap-up: A return to Collections

    Kodiak Historical Society—$8,239.47 for Collection Work and Viewing Space

    Museum of the Aleutians—$1,351 for Collections storage

    Pioneer Air Museum—$8,211.25 for Collections Cataloging Project

    Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center—$10,658 for Save Our Oral History Project

    Valdez Museum & Historical Archive—$5,000 for Collections Management Internship

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Fairbanks, AK 99775-6960

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