AHS Blog

2018 AHS Conference Call for Papers

Date Posted: March 6, 2018       Categories: News


Gold-seekers and their building materials at Nome City, 1899. Alaska State Library, Clarence L. Andrews Collection (P45-1054).

Tundra & Ice: History in Alaska’s Arctic

Alaska Historical Society Annual Conference

September 12-15, 2018 in Nome, Alaska

Alaska’s Arctic is fertile ground for historical inquiry. Northern topics abound like whaling in the Arctic Ocean, the gold stampedes to Nome and Kotzebue Sound, the Prudhoe Bay oil strike, and the rich history of Inupiaq and Yupik people and their contributions to environmental protection and civil rights in Alaska. This year we look northward and contemplate ways to preserve our histories and share them with the world. As always, presentations on all Alaska history topics are welcome.

This year the Alaska Historical Society and Museums Alaska will hold their conference in Nome (a first for AHS), and this year’s theme—Tundra & Ice: History in Alaska’s Arctic—invites reflection on the people, landscapes, and events that have shaped Alaska’s higher latitudes. Our featured speaker will be Dr. Lorraine McConaghy, public historian at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry and Washington State History Museum, who has many years of experience wrangling with questions of whose stories are told and how we tell them.

You are invited to submit proposals for papers, panels, and poster sessions. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes. Presenters must be registered for the conference.

To submit a proposal, please send your presentation title, an abstract (<100 words), and two sentences about yourself to Chris Allan, Program Chair, sprucetip105@gmail.com.

Proposals are due May 15, 2018.

For more information, go to “Conference Information” and “How To Shape Proposals and Presentations” on the AHS website.

New publication about 1867 Alaska Transfer Ceremony

Date Posted: March 14, 2018       Categories: News

The Alaska Historical Society is pleased to announce publication of:

“As the Old Flag Came Down: Eyewitnesses to the October 18, 1867 Alaska Transfer Ceremony”

 Chris Allan, 2018.

This 32-page booklet offers 16 eyewitness accounts of the 1867 Alaska Transfer Ceremony held in Sitka, Alaska. Drawn from newspaper stories, letters, and journals, there is one pre-transfer account, one post-transfer account, and 14 that describe the event. It also includes some 1868 photographs taken by Eadweard Muybridge. These accounts provide a rare opportunity to see how multiple observers remember and record the same events differently. Beyond the descriptions of the transfer ceremony, these accounts offer remarkable portraits of Sitka as a community in flux as the Americans arrive and the Russians depart and the Tlingits adapt to the new regime.

Download a pdf of this booklet..

Alaska History Day Judges Needed – March 23-30, 2018

Date Posted: March 12, 2018       Categories: News

More than 400 students in grades 6-12 across the state are participating in this year’s Alaska History Day contest from March 23-30. This annual competition is held at local, state, and national levels to engage kids in creating history projects about topics that resonate with them, connected to an annual national theme. This year’s National History Day (NHD) theme is “Conflict and Compromise in History.”

From March 23-30, the top finishers from local contests will compete in the online state contest. We are currently seeking judges to help evaluate student projects during this week. Judges give feedback that helps students understand how to improve their communication and research skills. The feedback also helps prepare winning students for the next level of competition: the national contest in Washington, D.C. in June. The more diverse the judging pool, the better the feedback and the experience for the students.

Who can judge?
Alaskans with an interest in history who have a reliable internet connection.

What training is required?
Judges will be e-mailed a brief training video with sample evaluation rubrics. In all, the training should last around 20 minutes. The National History Day organization has designed the contest so that judges need not be professional historians or academics.

What’s the time commitment?
Judges can choose their time commitment, with a minimum of one hour between March 23-30. Judging can take place any time during that week – in the evenings, during the day, or on the weekend.

Can I choose what category of projects I judge?
Judges may request preferred categories among the five types of projects: website, documentary film, paper, performance, or exhibit.

How do I sign up?
Contact state coordinator Amanda Dale at adale@akhf.org / (907) 272-5503.
Or go to the Alaska Humanities Forum Alaska History Day Webpage (akhf.org/ahd) and scroll down to the bottom of the page, and fill out the quick form.

More information:
Alaska History Day (akhf.org/ahd)
National History Day (nhd.org)

Sesquicentennial Matters in Alaska

Date Posted: March 10, 2018       Categories: News

Close up of top of Seward’s Pole in Saxman, Alaska. The pole was carved by Stephen Jackson. Photo by Hall Anderson, used with permission.

The Alaska Historical Society is pleased to announce that the National Council on Public History just published an article “Sesquicentennial Matters in Alaska” by Anna Lee Hirschi, our contractor for Alaska’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Alaska Treaty of Cession. 

2018 Student and Emerging Professional Awards

Date Posted: February 19, 2018       Categories: News

The Alaska Historical Society offers two scholarship awards for travel to its annual meeting and conference, this year in Nome, September 12 – 15, 2018. One award is for a post-secondary student who is researching some aspect of Alaska history, and the other for an emerging professional in the field. Awards consist of reimbursement for documented travel expenses up to $1000 plus a conference registration package.


  • An applicant must be a member of the Alaska Historical Society at the time of applying.
  • Student applicants must be a graduate student or upper-division undergraduate in fall 2018 with a course of study related to Alaska history.
  • Emerging professional applicants must be engaged in Alaska historical or cultural work and have been so employed for less than five years.
  • Applicants are required to attend the meeting in its entirety and make a presentation at the meeting (presentation title and abstract should be sent to Program Committee at: members@alaskahistoricalsociety.org).
  • Information about the meeting and the call for papers are at http://www.alaskahistoricalsociety.org/

Application process: Each applicant must submit: 1) letter with a statement of eligibility and an explanation of how attending the meeting will enhance academic or professional development; 2) title and abstract of proposed presentation; and 3) CV or résumé. Applications will be judged on the applicant’s achievement in Alaska history relative to current status and the likely benefit of the meeting for the applicant.

The application deadline is May 18. Electronic submission is preferred. Applications should be submitted electronically to Professor Michael Hawfield, AHS Awards Committee at: mchawfield@alaska.edu , or via regular mail to: AHS Awards, PO Box 100299, Anchorage, AK 99510.