Alaska State Museums Bulletin 78

Printable Version



Alyssa Magnone Internship
Shaking the Money Tree
Spotlight on Grant in Aid
Alaska Museums in the News
Professional Development/Training Opportunities
Professional Time Wasting on the Web


Summer Internship at the Sheldon Museum in Haines AK

By Alyssa Magnone


Alyssa MagnoneMy summer internship at the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center was a successful one. The original plan for the internship was to spend about 20 hours each week working with collections and 20 hours working on other areas, such as exhibits. I would say that, for the most part, this was how my hours were divided. I do think I probably spent more time in collections, but since this is the museum work I really enjoy, I did not mind.

Over the course of 8 weeks, I was able to accomplish a number of tasks. I learned how to use PastPerfect 5.0, which will be a great asset to me when I graduate in December and am looking for a job in the Collections Management field. I had previous database experience, but not specifically with the PastPerfect program. A lot of my work revolving around PastPerfect involved accessioning incoming object donations and found-in-collection/staff collected donations. When working with PastPerfect, a lot of my time was spent scanning photographs and uploading them to the database.

Another large portion of my time was spent revamping the Multiplex exhibition boards that used to hang in the Upper Gallery. I decided to start with the boards that coincided with the shipwrecks/Eldred Rock Lighthouse display. I was able to completely finish six boards that focus on the mystery surrounding the sinking of the Clara Nevada and began creating others that focused on Eldred Rock. This was a challenge for me since I am not skilled in using Photoshop (or any other photo manipulation program), but I am happy with the end result and I am glad that I had an opportunity to gain an understanding of the program, albeit elementary.

I also did a number of odds and ends throughout my time at the Sheldon. I helped with reception and gift shop duties, collections storage clean-up, exhibition openings, maintained the children’s area, created exhibition labels, recorded lectures, and provided an extra hand whenever and wherever it was needed. I think the most important thing that I learned was how to work within a small museum system. On any given day, I really had to be prepared to do anything! I really felt like I became a part of the Sheldon. I was treated more as an employee than an intern—which was a refreshing change from some previous experiences.

Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Haines. Residents of Haines and the museum’s staff were more than willing to let me tag a long on everything I could, from seaweed picking to kayaking. Dave Pahl (Hammer Museum) even arranged for the Hammer Museum interns and I to take a day trip to Skagway on the Fast Ferry. I am very grateful that people were so welcoming and generous. It was truly an unforgettable experience!

 return to top


Question:  I received a catalog in the mail from a store that supplies mannequins.  They have cheap body form mannequins made from molded polyurethane foam covered in jersey.  Based on price and simple design, these would be great for exhibits.  Is polyurethane a safe material to use?


ASM:  This might be alright for stores to use or for really short duration displays in a museum.  However, polyurethane foam is definitely a non-archival material, and has poor aging properties.  Over time it degrades.  And not much time either.  Like within 5-10 years or so, depending on conditions.  It tends to either become crumbly, or sticky.  I have seen it damage artifacts in museum collections when used as a padding.  However, for short term uses, it is technically OK, if there are adequate barrier layers between it and the artifact.  We do ship artifacts in crates using this foam…the gray/black foam we use is polyurethane.  Downsides: something “temporary” becomes more permanent, mannequin parts get mixed in and used in permanent situations because of pressures of time or money.  In those situations, staff feel pressure to go ahead and use what is on hand.  Also, for a traveling exhibit or loans, it sends the message to other institutions that the you might think these materials are OK, and you are likely to use them in inappropriate situations.

 return to top

Shaking the Money Tree

 Heritage Preservation

2015 Conservation Assessment Program Application Available

Heritage Preservation is pleased to announce the availability of Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) application as of October 1, 2014. The 2015 program year marks the 25th anniversary of CAP, and the admittance of our 3000th museum!

CAP is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Institute of Museum & Library Services, and is administered by Heritage Preservation. The program provides technical assistance to small to mid-sized museums to hire a professional conservator, approved by Heritage Preservation, for a two-day site visit.  The CAP assessor uses the site visit to examine the museum’s collections, environmental conditions, and sites.  The assessor then spends three days writing a report recommending priorities to improve collections care.  The assessment reports submitted by professional conservators can assist the museum in developing strategies for improved collections care, long-range planning, and fund-raising for collections care.

Funds are awarded based on the museum’s budget, so the cost to the museum varies. All museums are awarded a collections assessor.  Museums with buildings older than 50 years receive additional funds for an architectural assessor to identify priorities for care of the building(s).  In the case of institutions such as zoos, aquariums, nature centers, botanical gardens, and arboreta, CAP can fund a specialist to assess the living collections as well as the non-living collections.

Since CAP is limited to a two-day site visit, museums with small to mid-sized collections are most appropriate for this program.  Larger institutions are encouraged to contact IMLS for information on the Museums for America (MFA) grant.  MFA grants fund a variety of conservation projects, including general conservation surveys that can accommodate a more extensive site visit by a professional conservator.

Geared toward smaller institutions, the CAP application process is simple, and awards are made to eligible applicants as funding permits.  The 2015 CAP application will be open until Monday, December 1, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. The online application can be accessed at A link to this website, as well as to a fillable PDF can be found at

To receive further information, visit our website at:

Or, contact us at:

Conservation Assessment Program

Heritage Preservation
1012 14th Street, NW
Suite 1200
Washington, D.C.  20005


Call for Applications for Five IMLS Museum Grant Programs for FY 2015

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting applications in all of its museum grant programs. The application deadline for each of these programs is December 1, 2014.

For more information about these notices of funding opportunities, including instructions for completing applications, contacts, and webinar access information, click on any of the following links.

IMLS staff members are available by phone and email to discuss general issues relating to these funding programs.

 return to top

Spotlight on Grant in Aid

The Alaska State Museum announced the awarding of 22 grants totaling $105,600 to Alaska museums and cultural centers for museum projects around the state. The following awards were made:

Applicant Project Amount
Alaska Jewish Museum, Anchorage Collections management 8,456
Museum of Science and Nature, Anchorage Museum supplies 4,017
Alpine Historical society, Sutton Support for large artifacts 2,000
Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak Alutiiq dance history 7,573
Anchorage Museum, Anchorage Conservation of photos 3,330
Beringia Center of Culture and Science, Nome fireproof filing cabinet 2,000
Cordova Historical Society, Cordova Preparation for move 7,710
Eagle Historical Society, Eagle Update media equipment 2,000
Hammer Museum, Haines Purchase printers 2,000
Hope Sunrise Historical Society, Hope Outdoor exhibit signage 1,604
Juneau Douglas City Museum, Juneau Exhibit upgrade 9,710
Ketchikan Museum Department, Ketchikan Museum security upgrade 8,780
Kodiak Historical Society, Kodiak Digital management plan 4,400
Kodiak Maritime Museum, Kodiak Design interpretive display 8,400
Museum of AK Transportation & Industry, Wasilla Computer equipment 1,945
Museum of the Aleutians, Unalaska Purchase dataloggers 1,220
Museums Alaska, Statewide Workshop for Meeting 7,060
Pioneer Air Museum, Fairbanks Cataloging Project 6,000
Pratt Museum, Homer Remote camera project 6,595
Sheldon Museum, Haines Collections management 4,400
Friends Tanana Valley RR Museum, Fairbanks Diorama exhibit fabrication 2,000
Valdez Museum, Valdez Cataloging Project 4,400


 return to top

Alaska Museums in the News

Hayley Chambers is the new senior curator at the Ketchikan Museums

Arts and Industry in Alaska

 return to top

Professional Development/Training Opportunities

Heritage Preservation

Upcoming Webinars for State Cultural Heritage Disaster Networks
Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Private, Nonprofit Organizations
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
3:00 – 4:30 pm Eastern
Presenter: Mark Randle, SBA Public Information Officer

Topics to be covered include:

  • The SBA federal declaration process: How, When, Where
  • Loans to help repair/replace property damage
  • Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster
  • Eligibility, terms, and conditions
  • The application process and the processing of applications
  • Disbursement of funds and the use of loan proceeds

Register for this webinar. Click here for more information.

Who Should Attend?
Interested members of a state cultural heritage emergency network, including but not limited to:

  • Representatives of state cultural agencies – State Library, State Museum, State Archives, State Arts Council, State Humanities Council, State Historic Preservation Office – who have an obligation (whether legal or moral) to assist their constituents following a disaster
  • Representatives of local, county, state, and federal emergency management (EM) agencies
  • Representatives of national, regional, or state museum, library, or archives associations
  • Colleagues at other state agencies who would benefit from the webinars. Please pass this email along to them!

Although the information is relevant to all cultural institutions, we’d like to keep participation in the live webinar down to a manageable number so the instructor can field questions that apply primarily to state cultural and EM agencies. Our aim is to provide information that’s most useful to network members, who will then be better equipped to help their constituents.

The webinar will be recorded, and once it’s been posted to the State Heritage Emergency Partnership website,, we’ll remind you to notify your constituents of its availability.

Registration Fee
Thanks to funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the State Heritage Emergency Partnership 2014 Webinar Series is free. However, registration for each webinar is required for attendance.

Contact Katelin Lee, Emergency Programs Assistant, 202-233-0835.

 return to top

Professional Time Wasting on the Web

Cool video on the conservation of a huge Spanish colonial frame

Dermestid Beetles put to good use

Video of a cemetery tour


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s