Alaska State Museums Bulletin 61

Printable Version


Native Artist Demonstrators at 25
Shaking the Money Tree
Spotlight on Grant in Aid
Alaska Museums in the News
Professional Development/Training Opportunities 
Professional Time Wasting on the Web


Native Artist Demonstrators Program at the Sheldon Jackson Museum turns 25


SJ Museum

The Native Artist Demonstrator Program began in 1987 during the museum’s centennial when Native artists volunteered to demonstrate their art at the museum. In following years, the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum joined with the Sitka Fine Arts Camp to bring Alaska Native artists from throughout the state to share their art, both at the museum and with students. The program has been supported over the years by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Airlines, and donations by local businesses and individuals. Overall, 70 Alaskan Native artists have participated in the Native Artist Demonstrator Program.

History of the Native Artist Demonstrator Program

  • In 1987, the Sheldon Jackson Museum celebrated its Centennial. Native artists volunteered to demonstrate their art at the museum.
  • The Native Artist Demonstrator Program began in 1988 when Janice Criswell, a Tlingit basket weaver, volunteered to demonstrate her skills a few hours over several days at the museum.
  • The next summer, the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp brought Yup’ik basket weaver, Rita Blumenstein. She demonstrated at the museum and taught SFAC students.
  • Beginning in 1996 the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum applied and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Other support came from Alaska Airlines, Native corporations, local businesses and individuals.
  • The program continued to grow to include usually five out of town Native artists as well as five local Native artists from May – September every year.

Other Native artists who have shared their art
at the Sheldon Jackson Museum:

  • Esther Littlefield
  • Jacob Simeonoff
  • Chuna McIntyre
  • Barbara Shangin
  • Candace Whitson
  • John Bartels
  • Helen Mercado
  • Mark Sixbey

A special thank you to former curator, Rosemary Carlton, for envisioning and establishing the Native Artist Demonstrator Program!

Rosemary Carlton

Rosemary Carlton

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Question:  Should we allow flash photography in the galleries? We have such a small single gallery and have our “Please do not take photos” signs up, but people still take photos with flash.  Will this cause our artifacts to fade?

ASM:  Here is  a synopsis of the argument by one of the leading conservation scientist in the field, Stefan Michalski, from the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI).

You can read his entire post here but for anyone who just wants the short answer:

…flash may very well be banned for reasons of
copyright, or as a disturbance to the act of contemplation (my
personal vote) but there is no preservation reason. I think the ban
started originally because flash bulbs (and their precursors the
open magnesium flash) were a genuine fire hazard, and an explosion
hazard (hot fragments) and a garbage problem. Of course, tripods,
hot studio lamps, and bulky equipment are still hazards, and a
photography policy still necessary, but please don’t wave the red
flag of conservation over flash cameras.

In his post he points out that in order to raise the damage effect of light by 10% you would have to have 100,000 visitors taking flash pictures every day. An additional thought for those who have live collections Some museums do not allow flash photography in their marine galleries  because the flash disturbs/upsets the living creatures. This is especially true for an octopus whose eyes are extremely sensitive to light! Continued stress can result in a different kind of fading.


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Shaking the Money Tree


Now is the time to start developing your project for the National Endowment for the humanities Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions.

Deadline is May 1st.

For more information

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Spotlight on Grant in Aid

 Baranov Museum Monitors its Environment

In December of 2011, Baranov Museum Curator of Collections Anjuli Grantham purchased seven PEM2 dataloggers and 2 dedicated flash drives from the Image Permanence Institute (IPI). The PEM2 dataloggers were installed in seven pre-selected locations: three on the first floor gallery (Main room, Second room, Back room) and four in collections storage areas on the second floor (Collections rooms I and II, at the Photograph storage location near the Archivist’s desk and at the  Documents storage location in a closet off of the Director’s office).  In addition they have purchased and maintain a Basic subscription to IPI’s online data storage and analysis tool eClimateNotebook. They have been tracking their environmental data on eClimateNotebook using the multiple preservation metrics defined in the program, since late January 2012.  This project has significantly improved their ability to monitor and understand the environmental conditions within the Baranov Museum. The recording, data entry, graphing, and analysis is now automated, requiring considerably less staff time to complete. The preservation metrics defined in eClimate Notebook enable them to accurately determine how each defined location is performing as a preservation environment.  As they previously suspected, their greatest challenge relates to managing the degree of fluctuations in relative humidity. As a result of this project, they replaced two older-model humidifiers used in the museum gallery. They continue to use the data collection and analysis made possible through this project to plan for improving environmental conditions throughout the building.

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 Alaska Museums in the News

Ketchikan publisher subject of museum exhibit

Goodbye Sled Dogs, Hello Airplanes: New Exhibition Tells Remarkable Alaska Aviation Story

Juneau’s SLAM sparks manufacturing facility in Fairbanks

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Professional Development/Training Opportunities

Connecting to Collections (C2C)

Caring for Yesterday’s Treasures—Today is a new series of free, online courses about the preservation of archival and historical collections. Tailored to the needs of staff and volunteers at libraries and archives, each course includes four to six interactive webinars presented by preservation experts. The instructors will address the specific questions that you and your fellow participants have about the care of collections at your institution. Each course will have its own Web page with handouts and links to additional resources. When the course concludes, participants will be able to continue the conversation with instructors and classmates via the Connecting to Collections Online Community.

To register:

Although registration is free of charge, we ask that participants submit a permission form (

signed by their supervisor to attend selected courses. Participants will earn a certificate of completion if they attend all the webinars in a course and complete simple homework assignments. Note the registration will close one week before the first webinar in each course.

March Course Schedule

Webinar 1: Response: One Facet of the Emergency Management Cycle

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 – 11:30 pm AKST

Instructor: Julie Page

What you do—and do not do—following a disaster can spell the difference between success and failure. Do you know who to call? Are you familiar with your facility’s emergency systems? What type of supplies do you have on hand to immediately address the situation? Which staff members have been trained to respond and to work together as a team? This overview introduces participants to the Pocket Response Plan.

Webinar 2: PReP™ Side A: Communications

Thursday, March 7, 2013

10:00 – 11:30 pm AKST

Instructor: Julie Page

The top priority following any disaster, large or small, is human safety. Knowing how to contact or notify staff, volunteers, and patrons is key to ensuring a safe evacuation and a safe response. Who else should be on your contact list besides staff and volunteers? If the event is beyond your institution’s capacity to address, to whom should you reach out?

Webinar 3: PReP™ Side B: Action Steps

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

10:00 – 11:30 pm AKST

Instructor: Julie Page

When disaster strikes, confusion and chaos often replace thoughtfulness and deliberation. By having action steps outlined in advance, you don’t have to think about every detail; you can use these steps for guidance and to ensure that you are not overlooking any important activity. What are these action steps? How do you prioritize them? In many cases, it may not be possible to save all your collections. What goes into determining salvage priorities for collections?

Webinar 4: Recovery

Thursday, March 14, 2013

10:00 – 11:30 pm AKST

Instructor: Julie Page

Once your collections have been stabilized, you will then have to spend many months—and  perhaps even years—dealing with the consequences of the disaster, deciding what to save, what to throw out, rehabilitating the building, and treating the affected materials. This final session will explore collections salvage techniques, working with a disaster recovery company, inventory control, and the importance of addressing the emotional toll that disasters can take on staff, volunteers, and other supporters of your institution.

Note: an optional  follow-up webinar will be held in early June to discuss implementing and testing your response plan, date and time to be announced.

Dates Set for April Course

Caring for Digital Materials: Preventing a Digital Dark Age. The dates and instructors for all five webinars within this course have been confirmed. They are as follows:

Webinar 1: Overview of digital preservation

Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 10 am – 11:30 am AKST

Instructor: Lauren Goodley

Webinar 2: Convert it to preserve it: Digitization and file conversion

Thursday, April 4, 2013, 10 am – 11:30 am AKST

Instructor: Danielle Cunniff Plumer

Webinar 3: Describe it so you can find it: Metadata, finding aids, and digital asset management

Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 10 am – 11:30 am AKST

Instructor: Danielle Cunniff Plumer

Webinar 4: Practice safe archiving: Backups, copies, and what can go wrong

Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 10 am – 11:30 am AKST

Instructor: Jefferson Bailey

Webinar 5: Partner to preserve: Digital preservation networks and collaboration

Monday, April 15, 2013, 10 am – 11:30 am AKST

Instructors: Liz Bishoff and Tom Clareson

Image Permanence Institute

Free webinars on the optimal preservation environment

The Image Permanence Institute is presenting a series of free webinars for collections care and facilities staff in cultural institutions is designed to enable collections care and facilities staff in cultural institutions to work together to achieve an optimal preservation environment—one that combines the best possible preservation of collections with the least possible consumption of energy, and is sustainable over time. This series is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Education & Training grant program.

Webinar presentations will focus on broad environmental challenges and provide useful and effective suggestions for dealing with them. Webinars will be presented by IPI staff unless noted otherwise. Each webinar will be presented on a Wednesday from 2:00 to 3:30 Eastern Standard Time. You can get additional details and register for webinars at

March 6, 2013

Understand the Role of Temperature-Relative Humidity-Dew Point in Creating a Sustainable Preservation Environment

April 3, 2013

Fundamentals of HVAC – What Shapes Optimal Preservation Environments

May 1, 2013

Best Practices for Collecting and Analyzing Environmental Data

June 5, 2013

Dealing with Summer Heat & Humidity

July 10, 2013

Investigate your HVAC System & Identify Potential Energy Savings – Guest Speaker Peter Herzog, Herzog/Wheeler & Associates, Energy Management Consultant

August 7, 2013

Practical Approaches to Environmental Control for Small Institutions – Guest speaker, Richard Kerschner, Director of Preservation and Conservation, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont

September 4, 2013

Sustainable Preservation Practices—Key Team Activities

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Professional Time Wasting on the Web

Now this is a cool way to view collections on the web

What’s Driving Museums to Stay Open ALL Night – And What Are the Costs?

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