Calendar of 150th Anniversary Events



Submit material to our Calendar of Events by using our on-line Event Submission Form. Please direct questions and concerns to 150th Project Director Anna Lee Hirschi at



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January 30

Submissions due for “150 Reasons We Love Alaska” Essay

Alaskans are invited to contribute a brief essay (150 words or less) to “150 Reasons We Love Alaska,” a publication to be distributed in early 2017 during Alaska’s sesquicentennial year. Submissions can be sent to


February 1-29

Emanuel Leutze’s painting of the Purchase of Alaska on display (Fairbanks, AK)

The painting will be on display at the Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

February 4
Decolonizing Alaska is a multimedia visual art exhibit featuring contemporary artists exploring and responding to Alaska’s history of colonization and its emerging influence on sustainability, both environmental and cultural. As part of the exhibition Decolonizing Alaska, this discussion will bring together artists Annette Bellamy, Joel Isaak, Da-ka-xeen Mehner, Rika Mouw, Michael Walsh, and Crystal Rose Worl for a conversation moderated by curator Asia Freeman.


February 11

Signing of the Alaska Treaty Lecture (Fairbanks, AK)

The University of Alaska Museum of the North is offering a lecture about a painting of historic importance to Alaska. “Signing of the Alaska Treaty” by Emanuel Leutze is touring the state to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1867 treaty to purchase Alaska. Alaska historian Terrence Cole and artist Kes Woodward will talk about the value of history paintings and the era responsible for this work. The lecture will also examine Leutze’s life and career, including his most famous painting, a depiction of Gen. George Washington crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution.

February 17

Seward’s Folly: A New Look At the Alaska Purchase (Washington, DC)

The Alaska Purchase—denounced at the time as “Seward’s Folly” but now seen as a masterstroke—is known as a key moment in American history, but few know the whole story. Dr. Lee Farrow, professor of History at Auburn University at Montgomery, will give an overview of just what the Alaska Purchase was, how it came about, and its impact at the time. She will also discuss the implications of the deal for foreign policy and international diplomacy far beyond Russia and the United States at a moment when the global balance of power was in question. This talk is sponsored by the Kennan Institute of the Wilson Center.

February 18

Visit Sitka | Sitka Chamber of Commerce’s 150th Anniversary-themed Gala (Sitka, AK)


March 3-October 22

Polar Bear Garden exhibit at the Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, AK)

The exhibition opens to the public with special emphasis on the famous Leutze painting, which depicts the negotiation of the “Alaska Purchase,” as well as the original check and the Treaty of Cession for the purchase, on loan from the National Archives. A caviar and vodka tasting will be featured, along with a live performance by the Russian American Colony Singers. The museum will host a special screening of the 1959 film The Flying Saucer, which begins the coordinating film series that will be simultaneous with the run of the exhibition. Special art programs for children and families related to the exhibition content will be offered during the Anchorage School District’s spring break.

March 24

Seward’s Folly 150 Years Later: A Fireside Chat with Wayne Jensen (Juneau, AK)

Architect and historian Wayne Jensen will give a Fireside Lecture on Seward’s Folly 150 Years Later at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, U.S. Forest Service.

March 28

Youth Salute to Alaska’s History (Sitka, AK)

Elementary school students will perform a play titled  The Transfer of Russian America to the United States; K-12 groups will perform Russian music from the 1860’s; Sitka Studio of Dance will perform ballet from the same era.


March 29

Opening of the Sitka National Park Service’s Alaska Native Commemoration Art Exhibit (Sitka, AK)

The Alaska Sesquicentennial Commemorative Exhibit will highlight and showcase Alaska Native perspectives on the sale and its long-term impacts today. Art will be on display throughout the summer of 2017 at the Sitka National Historical Park. The exhibit will also be highlighted on the park’s website and through social media.

March 30

Celebration of the Tlingit People, Another Perspective of the Sesquicentennial: A Time to Heal (Sitka, AK)

Held at Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi, this event will honor and celebrate the Tlingit community. It will feature Alaska Native speakers, dance group performances, and the presentation of a one-act play about the Transfer.

Seward’s Day Luncheon (Washington, D.C.)

This luncheon will be held at the National Press Club on the 150th anniversary of the day both parties agreed to the Alaska Treaty of Cession.

Seward’s Day Reception (Washington, D.C.)

Reception on Seward’s Day to honor Secretary of State, William H. Seward, who negotiated the 1867 treaty that transferred Russian American (current day Alaska) to the United States.

History Speaks: State Senator Gary Stevens at the Baranov Museum (Kodiak, AK)

State Senator Gary Stevens will be giving a lecture on the sale of Alaska and the treaty at the Baranov Museum,  at 7:00pm on the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Cession.

History of Alaska: Law Lecture Series (Anchorage, AK)

Sesquicentennial Perspectives: Two Historical Views of the Alaska Purchase, a lecture by William Iggiagruk Hensley, Professor of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The lecture will be held at Mountain View Branch Library, preceded by a reception. 6 pm.

March 30-April 2

The Great Alaska Sportsman Show (Anchorage, AK)

The Bureau of Land Management Booth will have information about the Treaty of Cession.

March 31

150th Anniversary Museum Walk (Sitka, AK)

The annual Museum Walk features the artifact of the month at the Sheldon Jackson Museum; a 150th commemorative exhibit on Alaska Native art at the Sitka National Park; an open house at the Russian Bishop House; hands-on activities at the Sitka Maritime Heritage Center; the presentation of a new major icon shrine at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral; and live music from the 1860’s and refreshments at the Sitka History Museum.

Anchorage Museum Public Lecture Series: David Ramseur (Anchorage, AK)

The Anchorage Museum will host David Ramseur, a Visiting Scholar in Public Policy at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage, who will give a presentation on the melting of the “Ice Curtain” between Alaska and the Russian Far East in the 1980s and 90s. Dr. Ramseur is currently writing a book on the same topic.

Arctic Lights & Moscow Nights Concert  (Juneau, AK)

This performance seeks to promote understanding and bring cultures together through music, storytelling, and dance. Featuring the world famous Moscow Nights Trio, Russian American Colony Singers, New Archangel Dancers, and local Alaska Native dance groups.


April 1

Anchorage Symphony Season Finale: Excerpts from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (Anchorage, AK)

The Anchorage Symphony, Anchorage Concert Chorus, and Alaska Chamber Singers present excerpts from the quintessential Russian opera Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the United States’ purchase of Alaska from Russia. This masterpiece has been touted as a revolutionary folk drama set in the art of opera that amazes with its boldness, breadth, and dramatic fireworks. Conducted by Randall Craig Fleischer. Atwood Concert Hall at Alaska Performing Arts Center.

Music without Borders Folk Concert  (Sitka, AK)

A concert celebrating folks traditions, featuring the Moscow Nights Trio and the Russian American Colony Singers. With additional performances by New Archangel Dancers and the St. Michael’s Cathedral Choir, this event will promote understanding and bring cultures together through music, storytelling and dance.  

April 7

Greater Sitka Arts Council’s 150th Anniversary-themed Art Walk (Sitka, AK)

April 13

Polar Politics: Alaska-Russian Relations in the 1980s (Chugiak, AK)

David Ramseur will speak as part of the History Chats series at Chugiak High School. Program sponsored by Tundra Vision Public History Consultants.

April 19

Russian American Colony Singers present Music Without Borders (Fairbanks, AK)

This unique program commemorates Alaska’s Sesquicentennial and celebrates the multicultural nature of Alaska through the ‘universal language’ of music.  The program incorporates Russian folk songs, Alaska Indigenous storytelling, and special appearances by world renowned Russian trio “Moscow Nights.”  It promises to touch each heart as we focus on values so vital to Alaska: respect for the diversity of its people, deep appreciation for their interwoven histories, and a shared love of this great land.

April 21

Anchorage Museum Public Lecture Series: Leon Aron (Anchorage, AK)

April 21 Leon Aron will be the featured lecturer.  The Anchorage Museum will host Leon Aron, a resident scholar and the director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Dr. Aron will speak on Russian domestic and foreign policy; US-Russia relations; and the economic, social, and cultural aspects of Russia’s post-Soviet evolution.

April 21-22

150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History Conference (Soldotna, AK)

Hosted by a volunteer committee in partnership with the Pratt Museum and Kenai Peninsula College, the conference will be held at the Kenai River Campus of Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna. The conference will include a symposium for the general public about the Kenai Peninsula, the Cession, and the area’s unique blend of Native, Russian, and US traditions, with related cultural and educational activities for all. Interested parties can contact Shana Loshbaugh at

April 23

Russian American Colony Singers present Music Without Borders (Anchorage, AK)

This unique program commemorates Alaska’s Sesquicentennial and celebrates the multicultural nature of Alaska through the ‘universal language’ of music.  The program incorporates Russian folk songs, Alaska Indigenous storytelling, and special appearances by world renowned Russian trio “Moscow Nights.”  It promises to touch each heart as we focus on values so vital to Alaska: respect for the diversity of its people, deep appreciation for their interwoven histories, and a shared love of this great land.


May 8-14

Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee End of Chairmanship (Fairbanks, AK)

The Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee will be hosting  public education opportunities, policy and research activities and many other side events prior to and after the Arctic Council Ministerial, which occurs at the conclusion of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

May 13

Unveiling of Seward Statue and Celebration (Auburn, NY)

The Seward statue will be unveiled and the Treaty of Cession will be celebrated through a variety of events at the Seward House Museum.


Lifeways in Interior Alaska in the 1860s Exhibit (Fairbanks, AK)

The event is co-hosted by the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North.



June 15-19

Mining History Association Conference (Fairbanks, AK)

The 2017 Annual Conference of the Mining History Association (MHA) will be held at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Additional information can be obtained by Tom Bundtzen, / 907.458.8951



July 3

Dedication and Reception for Seward Statue (Juneau, AK)

The event will consist of the dedication of Seward statue by sculptors, David and Judith Rubin, and a reception at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. More information can be obtained from Wayne Jensen,


September 15-17

Sesquicentennial United States Road Rally Challenge (Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula, AK)

The USRRC is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America, the Road Rally which has a team of Driver and Navigator, travels on public roads in search of checkpoints. The Centennial in 1967, held a Road Rally from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The event is for Cheechako (those new to sport) to Sourdoughs (experienced) rallyists. Road Rallying has been active in Alaska since before Statehood in 1958! Come join us!



Emanuel Leutze’s painting of the Purchase of Alaska on display (Juneau, AK)

The painting will be on display at the Alaska State Museum.

October 6

Perceptions: The Alaska Treaty of Cession Intercurrent (Anchorage, AK)

This exhibition, held at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art, is centered on the perceptions and interpretations of artists, historians, writers, and performers responding to the Alaska Treaty of Cession. It is a contemporary response based on images, words, and actions; audible through spoken and unspoken communication.

October 13-16

Haa Shagòon, Yei Sh Natoosneix: A Conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans (Sitka, AK)

Anyone interested in the indigenous peoples of Southeast Alaska is welcome to attend this unique biennial event, a multi-disciplinary three- to four-day conference that includes Alaska Native tradition bearers, elders, and fluent speakers of indigenous languages meeting with artists, academics, students and other learners. Our conference will add new perspectives, that of Alaska Natives, whose challenges to the so-called “Purchase of Alaska” were finally addressed in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

October 14

Sitka: A Transfer Story (Sitka, AK)

This one-act play about the transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States is by Zachary Desmond.

October 18

Annual Alaska Day Parade & Transfer Ceremony at Castle Hill (Sitka, AK)

With a Memorial Service at the National Cemetery, tea at the Pioneer Home, and more.

October 27

Opening of Across the Shaman’s River exhibit (Haines, AK)

This exhibit will be held at the Sheldon Museum.

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