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Unlocking McNeil’s Past: The Prison, The Place, The People Exhibit Opening, January 26, 2019

Date Posted: January 21, 2019       Categories: News

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.

For more about the exhibit, see the Washington State Historical Society’s webpage.

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.

MUYBRIDGE IN ALASKA Exhibit Opening, January 26, 2019

Date Posted: January 21, 2019       Categories: News

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

Putting History to Work in Alaska: Public History at UA

Date Posted: December 22, 2018       Categories: News
The UAA History Department is exploring the development of a Public History program that gives University of Alaska graduates a range of tools that make them attractive to potential employers. Across the country, universities have developed graduate programs tailored to their specific geographic needs that put history to work. The purpose of this inquiry is to assess Alaska’s specific needs. Once determined, those needs will serve as a framework for a program proposal. As practitioners of public history and potential employers of our graduates, your input into the development of a Public History program is critical and greatly appreciated. 
Public history is the practical application of history to real-world issues. Public history expertise is utilized by a broad range of professions that share a commitment to making history relevant and useful in the public sphere, such as: historical/cultural consultants, museum professionals, government historians, archivists, oral historians, cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, historical interpreters, librarians, historic preservationists, historic architects, policy advisers, local historians, industrial archeologists and community activists.
Although public historians can sometimes be professors, practitioners usually find employment beyond the walls of the traditional classroom. Areas of study that serve the professional community include:
         Interpretation: History consumed by the public.
History interpreted via museums, documentaries, podcasts, historical societies, lecture series, digital publication, storytelling workshops, libraries, national/state/local parks, battlefields and memorials, guided tours.
         Cultural Resources Management: The protection and management of the tangible remains of past human activities.
History associated with buildings, structures, districts, prehistoric sites, historic or prehistoric objects or collection, rock inscription, earthworks or landscapes. Management types include Section 106 compliance, Historic Resource Surveys, Cultural Landscape reports, Ethnographic surveys, oral histories, and Traditional Cultural Places.
         Professional Services: History conducted for clients.
History applied to institutional histories, corporate archives, exhibit curation, legal or legislative histories, educational initiatives, non-profits, grant writing and management, environmental impact statements, public policy, commercial operators, and genealogy.
         Historic Preservation: History to protect and promote place.
History promoted via architectural & historic surveys, heritage tourism, community projects, walking tours, archives and collections, reuse and rehabilitation of sites, historical societies, and land trusts.
While theory and methodology remain firmly in the discipline of history, public history is, by definition, interdisciplinary. Public historians routinely engage in collaborative work with community members, stakeholders, as well as with university and professional colleagues.
Public historians consult/work directly with archeologists, anthropologists, folklorists, archivists, ethnographers, architects, cartographers, museum curators, education specialists, surveyors, natural resource managers, artists, ecologists, linguists, geologists, scientists, attorneys, cultural bearers, military personnel, tribal affiliations, Native corporations, business leaders, board of directors, nonprofits and community advocates. In fact, collaboration is a fundamental and defining characteristic of what public historians do
If you are interested in helping the department develop a practical and appropriate program that would serve Alaska’s needs, please consider writing a letter that incorporates insights based on the following questions. Please address letters to:
Paul Dunscomb, Chair
UAA Department of History
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Please describe your work/program/organization and feel free to consider the following questions:
1.      Does your work/program/organization either employ or work in collaboration with public history practitioners? If so, can you share a few examples?
2.      Are public history positions typically filled by in-state (University of Alaska trained) or out-of-state hires? (How many, if any, of the in-state hires are History graduates?)
3.      Does a demand exist for qualified public history practitioners in your work place or field?
4.      What specific skills does your work/program/organization require from public history practitioners?
5.      How might a Public History MA Graduate Program at UAA benefit your work/program/organization?
6.      Would your work/program/organization benefit from UAA Interns? If so, can you provide a few examples?
7.      Would your work/program/organization consider participating in class projects/seminars that teach specific skills while offering students professional experience?
8.      In terms of public history, what is your work/program/organization’s greatest need and how might a Public History program at the University of Alaska fill that need?
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Katherine Ringsmuth at 907-830-2251 or kjringsmuth@alaska.edu. To learn more about the field of Public History, visit the National Council on Public History’s website.


100th Anniversary of the Princess Sophia Tragedy

Date Posted: October 29, 2018       Categories: News

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.

SS Princess Sophia Memorial, Skagway

Date Posted: October 16, 2018       Categories: News

The public is cordially invited to the SS Princess Sophia Memorial & Storyboard Dedication Saturday, October 20, 2018 • 2 PM
White Pass & Yukon Route Depot & Skagway Centennial Park

Introduction by emcee Jeff Brady, SS Princess Sophia Committee
Welcome by Skagway Mayor Monica Carlson
Welcome by White Pass & Yukon Route – Tyler Rose

Guest Speaker: David Leverton, Maritime Museum of British Columbia
Unveiling of SS Princess Sophia Memorial at Centennial Park with reading of the names of known victims by SS Princess Sophia Committee members
Closing Remarks by SS Princess Sophia Committee Chair Carl Mulvihill
During this special event, the SS Princess Sophia Exhibit from the Skagway Museum will be on display at the WP&YR Depot in front of the ticket office.

Special thanks to Hamilton Construction for donation of the memorial rock, and to the Skagway Public Works crew for installation.

Please join us at 7 PM on the Railroad Dock for a wreath-laying ceremony.