AHS Blog

Importance of Archives

Date Posted: February 15, 2019       Categories: 49 History News

In 2018, the Alaska Historical Society (AHS) made protecting our state’s archives its advocacy priority. As part of this effort, AHS launched the Archives Video Project to highlight how archive collections are the irreplaceable basic sources of historical research. By emphasizing how collections are used in research, these videos hope to bring attention to the rich resources in the state’s archives. Public support for archives is a continuing priority of the Alaska Historical Society.

The following video testimonials from researchers around the state emphasize the key role archives have played in their work:

Dr. William Schneider on the Importance of Archives
University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Emeritus Dr. William Schneider talks about researching and examining historical photographs in archives. Schneider’s book “The Tanana Chiefs: Native Rights and Western Law,” was published in 2018. This video (copyright Alaska Historical Society, 2018) was made possible through contributions of private individuals. For more information, please contact William Schneider: wsschneider@alaska.edu
with captions: https://youtu.be/Lx4CkvDyRbQ
without captions: https://youtu.be/CXeHcnqSJdI

Dr. Mary Ehrlander on the Importance of Archives
Dr. Mary F. Ehrlander, professor of History and co-director of Arctic and Northern Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, talks about her experience using archives to write her 2017 book “Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son.” The biography covers the life and story of Walter Harper, the son of a Koyukon-Athabascan mother and an Irish immigrant father, who in 1913 became the first person to reach the summit of Denali, North America’s highest mountain. This video (copyright Alaska Historical Society, 2018) was made possible through contributions of private individuals. For more information, please contact William Schneider: wsschneider@alaska.edu
with captions: https://youtu.be/D5g6JeK-uzE
without captions: https://youtu.be/fXXkyceNI4E

Professor Rob Prince on the Importance of Archives
Associate Professor Rob Prince of the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks talks about how his students have been using archives to delve into an ongoing mystery on campus. Archaeologist Otto Geist may have buried several mammoth tusks on the UAF campus during the 1930s. Where are those tusks today? Professor Prince and his students searched the archives for clues. This video (copyright Alaska Historical Society, 2018) was made possible through contributions of private individuals. For more information, please contact William Schneider: wsschneider@alaska.edu
with captions: https://youtu.be/cTos16–TkM
without captions: https://youtu.be/qHljBSLx6YQ

Dr. Jennifer Stone on the Importance of Archives
Dr. Jennifer Stone, Professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage, works with students at the UAA/APU Consortium Library’s Archives and Special Collections. Dr. Stone has integrated the archives into her curriculum in creative and innovative ways. Watch how her students have responded to this approach, and learn more about how the archives enrich the classroom experience of Alaska’s students. This video (copyright Alaska Historical Society, 2019) was made possible through contributions of private individuals and with the assistance of Ian Hartman, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alaska Anchorage. For more information, please contact William Schneider: wsschneider@alaska.edu.
without captions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvYbAxf5VQA
(for auto-generated captions, click on the cc button in the lower-right corner of the YouTube screen)

2020 Conference Going Digital

Date Posted: July 22, 2020       Categories: News

Sitka from water, showing the Three Sisters in the background. Sitka Harbor-7, Alaska State Library Photo Collection.

Out of concern for the health of our membership during the Corona virus pandemic, the AHS Board of Directors has decided to change the 2020 AHS Annual Conference that was to be held in Sitka, Alaska from October 14 to 17, 2020 into a digital on-line event via Zoom. There still will be a keynote speaker, panel sessions, individual paper presentations, and the annual meeting.

Stay tuned for details of the schedule and how to register.

Oral Historian Job Opportunity

Date Posted: June 29, 2020       Categories: News

The Association of Village Council Presidents has a job opening for an Oral Historian located in Bethel, Alaska. According to the job announcement, “The Oral Historian provides services to organize and initiate topical indexing of the ANCSA Historic and Cemetery Sites Program tape collection from the Calista/AVCP region. The Oral Historian will coordinate inter-agency efforts involving the oral history collection including copying, archiving, storage, collection maintenance cataloging, indexing, transcribing and translating. The Oral Historian must have a strong commitment to developing a long-term oral history initiative in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region and to incorporating local cultural heritage projects into a larger regional focus, and must be able and willing to work cooperatively with Native elders, individual researchers, various state and federal agencies, and Calista Corporation staff and administrators.”

Qualifications include: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in Linguistics or Language Studies with a specialization in Alaskan Native Languages. Spoken and written fluency in Yup’ik and English is required.

For full job announcement and more information go to: https://www.avcp.org/job/oral-historian/

NN Cannery Project Discusses Community Work

Date Posted: June 29, 2020       Categories: Alaska's Historic Canneries News

Between Two Bookshelves: Humanities Organizations and the COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 25, 2020, Katie Ringsmuth with the NN Cannery History Project participated in a virtual online briefing organized for congressional staffers in Washington DC that showcased how humanities organizations like hers are serving communities in distinct and crucial ways throughout the COVID-19 crisis. She represented the Cannery History Project and discussed the unifying significance of current and past essential workers, as well as the historic lessons learned from the 1919 pandemic and the Black Lives Matters movement and how they tie together through the NN Cannery History experience. Katie was joined by Vive Griffith from the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which serves low-income adults. Moderating the conversation was Cecily Hill, the National Humanities Alliance’s director of community initiatives.

To watch the recorded video click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiidLBk684I&feature=youtu.be

2020 Annual Award Nominations

Date Posted: June 22, 2020       Categories: News

The Alaska Historical Society is asking for help in recognizing individuals, historical societies and public institutions for their outstanding research, writing, and promotion of Alaska history. Nominations are due no later than August 15, 2020.

Here’s the list of awards to be made in 2020:

The James H. Ducker Historian of the Year Award is given to an Alaska resident for publication of significant new material about Alaska’s past published the last sixteen months. history during the past year. Historian James Ducker edited the Society’s scholarly journal Alaska History for 30 years.

The Esther Billman Certificate of Excellence is given to a local or state historical society, museum, government agency, or other organization for a project or series of projects contributing to the preservation and understanding of Alaska history. Esther Billman’s service as curator at the Sheldon Jackson Museum is commemorated by the award.

The Evangeline Atwood Award is given to an individual for significant long-term contributions to Alaska state or local history. Evangeline Atwood was one of the founders of the Alaska Historical Society.

The Barbara Smith Pathfinder Award is given to an individual or individuals for indexing or preparing guides to Alaska historical material. Barbara Smith, a historian, archivist, and exhibit curator prepared invaluable guides to Alaska Native, Russian Orthodox, and Russian American records.

The Elva R. Scott Local Historical Society Award is for a special achievement of a community historical society or museum to make the local people and historical events known. Elva Scott was a founder of Homer’s Pratt Museum, and after moving to Eagle was the newsletter editor, tour guide, and official of that community’s historical society.

The Student and Beginning Professional Travel Scholarship Awards are cash awards given to help individuals attend and participate in the Alaska Historical Society’s annual meeting and conference.

The Contributions to Alaska History Award recognize an individual or groups that have made  singular and significant recent contributions to the promotion and understanding of Alaska history.

A letter of nomination with sufficient detail and supporting materials should be sent to the AHS Awards Committee, members@alaskahistoricalsociety.org or mailed to P.O. Box 100299, Anchorage, AK 99510.  Nominations for the Ducker Award must include a copy of the publication for the committee’s use.

Nominations are due August 15, 2020.

Municipality of Anchorage Landmark Register

Date Posted: June 22, 2020       Categories: News

The Municipality of Anchorage is recognizing the importance of having a Historic Preservation Program by developing a Local Landmark Register. The Planning Department released the Public Review Draft of the Local Landmark Register Ordinance on June 15, 2020. The public review-and-comment period is from June 15 through August 31, 2020.

For more information and to submit comments go to: http://www.muni.org/Departments/OCPD/Planning/Projects/Pages/Local-Landmark-Register.aspx