AHS Blog | 49 History
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 William Schneider, 2018) was made possible through contributions of private individuals. For more information, please contact William Schneider: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 William Schneider, 2018) was made possible through contributions of private individuals. For more information, please contact William Schneider: email@example.com
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 William Schneider, 2018) was made possible through contributions of private individuals. For more information, please contact William Schneider: firstname.lastname@example.org
with captions: https://youtu.be/cTos16–TkM
without captions: https://youtu.be/qHljBSLx6YQ
From January 26 to May 26, 2019, the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma is hosting the exhibit Unlocking McNeil’s Past: The Prison, The Place, The People. McNeil Island is where many Alaskans were incarcerated during territorial days.
This exhibition presents the larger history of McNeil Island as a place, and the prison that opened there 143 years ago. The prison operated far longer than the better-known Alcatraz island prison. When the state’s correctional center on McNeil Island closed in 2011, it was the last prison in the nation only accessible by air or water.
From its beginnings as a territorial prison through its tenure as a federal and state penitentiary, the story of McNeil illuminates how incarceration in the U.S. has changed over time, as seen through the evolution of the prison facility, itself.
Unlocking McNeil’s Past: The Prison, The Place, The People presents history through accounts from prison staff, inmates, and residents of the island. It explores McNeil’s connections to significant state and national events. It examines the evolution of prison practices through territorial, federal, and state lenses, as well as the physical landscape of the prison itself and how its structure reflected these changes. Stories of early settlement and the unique relationship between the prison and its island community are also shared through this exhibition.
Listen to the six part podcast Forgotten Prison created in collaboration between KNKX.org and Washington State History Museum – airing weekly on 88.5 FM beginning Tuesday, January 22.
The Forgotten Prison podcast has been supported through a storytelling grant from Humanities Washington.
GRAND OPENING OF MUYBRIDGE IN ALASKA: 1868
Circumpolar World Music Festival
The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates the opening of Muybridge in Alaska: 1868, an unprecedented traveling exhibition of iconic photographer Edward Muybridge’s historic Alaskan views. The exhibition opens on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in the Hall of Cultures.
Also on January 26, at 4:00 p.m., the Alaska Native Heritage Center will host a public forum to discuss the photographs, their context and meaning. Panelists will include Tlingit authority Tom Harris, celebrated Tlingit artist and musician Preston Singletary, University of Alaska anthropologist Dan Monteith and exhibition organizer and award-winning documentary filmmaker Marc Shaffer. UAA professor of Native Studies Maria Williams will serve as moderator.
Muybridge in Alaska: 1868 features original Muybridge photographs of Fort Tongass, Fort Wrangle (sic), and Sitka, taken in August 1868. These are the first photographs taken of Tlingit people, and the first of Alaska widely seen. Visitors will be provided with stereoscopes through which they can view the dual stereo views in 3D, as originally intended.
Muybridge in Alaska: 1868 is organized by Inside Out Media and curated by Marc Shaffer. The images are on loan from the private collections of Leonard Walle and Mary Everson. The exhibition is supported by the Atwood Foundation, in part by a grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum and the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency, and by a Harper Arts Touring Fund grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Muybridge in Alaska: 1868 grows out of a major documentary on Muybridge being directed by Marc Shaffer entitled Exposing Muybridge. For more information, visit www.muybridgethemovie.com.
Muybridge in Alaska: 1868 will be on exhibit until March 27, 2019 at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage. It will then travel to the Sheldon Museum in Haines for April and May, before finishing its tour in Sitka in June and July.
The Circumpolar World Music Festival will be held on the same day in the Gathering Place. Schedule includes:
10:45am Alaska Native Heritage Center Dancers
11:15am Tlingit and Haida Dancers
11:45am Alaska Native Guitarist: Owen Parduhn
2:15pm The Whitney Youngman Trio
1:30pm Alaska Native Heritage Center Dancers
3:00pm Khu.éex’ Band
3:45pm Meet the Artists
4:00pm Muybridge Discussion Panel
Alaska Native Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization that preserves and strengthens the traditions, languages, and art of Alaska’s Native People through statewide collaboration, celebration, and education. It is located at 8800 Heritage Center Drive in northeast Anchorage, just off Muldoon Road North near Bartlett High School. For more information about other events and programs, visit www.alaskanative.net
October 25th was the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the SS Princess Sophia in Lynn Canal, Alaska’s worst maritime accident. Go to the podcast “Stuff You Missed in History Class” to learn more about this event.