The Alaska Historical Society’s has awarded seven grants to advance seafood history projects
around Alaska. The grants have been awarded to individuals and organizations to advance
documentation, preservation, and education about the history of Alaska’s seafood industry and to
support the vision of the Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative. Grants were awarded for projects
in Dillingham, Kodiak, Naknek, Tenakee Springs and Sitka.
“With these grants, we hope to direct more attention towards the history and culture of Alaska’s
seafood industry. Nothing marks the identity of coastal Alaska more than the fishing industry,
yet that history is often neglected. We hope to improve the preservation of the history of the
seafood industry in Alaska and demonstrate that this history matters today,” explains Anjuli
Grantham, Director of the Initiative.
One of the awards will support efforts this summer to assess the status of the South Naknek
“Diamond NN” cannery and look at options for its preservation. “The NN is one of the most
historic canneries in Alaska, built in 1890 and operated for over 100 years, from the 19th century
into the 21st,” said grant recipient Katie Ringsmuth. “We want to document this facility, the role
it played in the economy and culture of the Bristol Bay region, and look at ways to ensure this
Fellow fishtorian Bob King added, “We greatly appreciate the AHS support of projects like this.
We encourage other historians to look at ways they can use the cannery initiative to contribute to
the better understanding of the role of the fishing industry in their community and the state.”
Grants were awarded to the following projects, listed by region:
- Production of radio programming detailing the history of Sitka’s canneries, to the Sitka History Museum.
- Cataloging of Superior Canning Company artifacts and archival materials, to the Tenakee Historical Collection
- Publication of oral histories and the production of an exhibit about the history of fishing on the west side of Kodiak Island, to the Kodiak Historical Society
- Publication about the history of the Alitak cannery, to Rick Metzger and Woody Knebel
- Interviews, research, and writing about the Glacier Bay Seafoods shrimp plant in Ouzinkie, to Susan Morgan
- Preservation assessment of the South Naknek Diamond NN cannery in Bristol Bay, to Bob King and Katie Ringsmuth
- Oral histories of Dillingham elders, conducted by 4-H members in Dillingham, to Deanna