The statewide Alaska Historical Society representing over 450 individuals and over 60 cultural institutions urges the Alaska State Legislature to:
- Fully support the Governor’s FY 2016 operating budget for the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums. The division has the State Library, Alaska Historical Collections, State Archives and Records Administration, and State Museum and Sheldon Jackson Museum. The Alaska State Library serves legislators, state agencies, and citizens seeking information about our state’s past. The library works with 100 public, 300 school libraries and numerous special and tribal libraries throughout the state. The museums help 80 museums and cultural centers around the state. The archives offer technical support, education, and consultation to assist over 150 entities with archival holdings.
- Fully support the Governor’s FY 2016 operating budget for the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology, Department of Natural Resources. The office ensures historic properties are considered in planning and development projects, maintains an inventory of archaeological, historic, and paleontological sites, and works with communities and individuals around the state to preserve and interpret Alaska’s history and archaeology. The office staffs the Alaska Historical Commission, a Governor-appointed citizen’s board.
- Maintain the Governor’s FY 2016 capital budget appropriation of $150,000 general fund match for the Office of History and Archaeology. These funds are vital to bring in the entire federal Historic Preservation Fund award for historic preservation programs of the state and 13 local governments, and allows for investigations of significant cultural resources on state lands and for work on state historic properties.
- Pass HB 52, legislation to establish a museum construction program in the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. The program is to assist the more than 80 museums, many in small communities, with construction, expansion and major renovation projects. These projects will allow museums to better preserve artifacts and present them to the public and to provide improved services to the public.
- Provide funds for National History Day and We the People local and state competitions. These are national programs for secondary education students to participate upon winning in local and state competitions. The program needs to be coordinated, needs to meet the expenses of a state contest, and should be expanded to involve all Alaska school districts.
- Provide funds for statewide commemoration activities related to the 150th anniversary of the Purchase of Alaska, which will take place in 2017. The commemoration can serve as a means for inter-cultural dialogue, engaging Alaskans with our past, boosting tourism revenue, and investing in our cultural assets.
For more detailed information about the Alaska Historical Society’s (AHS) advocacy positions with the Alaska State Legislature’s 2015 Session (FY2016), see the Advocacy Priorities Page on the full AHS website.