Alaska State Museums Bulletin 81

Printable Version




Designation of Natural and Cultural History Repositories

By Linda Thibodeau, Director of the Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums

In 2014 the Alaska State Legislature passed a bill authorizing the Alaska State Museum to designate qualifying Alaska based institutions as Natural and Culture History Repositories. The legislation, House Bill 154, sponsored by Representative Steve Thompson of Fairbanks, authorizes the Alaska State Museum to develop and implement regulations that oversee the repository designation application process.


Seated: Governor Sean Parnell; Standing L to R: Angela Linn, UAMN Senior Collections Manger, Ethnology and History; Linda Thibodeau, Director of the Division of Libraries, Archives, Museums; Kevin Winkler, UAMN Curator of Birds; Aldona Jonaitis, UAMN Director; Pat Druckenmiller, UAMN Curator of Earth Sciences; Rep Steve Thompson, Staffer Lynnette Bergh


The new legislation has several benefits for museums and cultural centers:

  • Qualifying as Natural and Culture History Repositories, institutions will demonstrate professional levels of achievement useful in securing federal or private grants and other funds that require serious attention to collections care.
  • Institutions will have the opportunity to compare their collections care practices with that of the national standards of best practices as defined by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).
  • Seeking repository designation will be an opportunity for developing collections management priorities for museums and cultural centers that wish to work with the Alaska State Museum staff to evaluate and improve upon their standards of collections care.

As authorized by the legislation, the Alaska State Museum will release the application for the annual opportunity for museums and cultural centers to apply for the designation of cultural and natural history repository on March 1, 2015.

The application is a two-step process:

  1. The first step involves an initial online questionnaire to be filled out by a designated museum official requesting consideration as a Natural and Culture History Repositories.
  2. The second step is working with the review committee to determine that all of the requirements set down by the law for repository designation are met.

We look forward to working with the interested institutions around Alaska on this project. The repository application will be available and submitted online only.  The link for the application is


Please contact Scott Carrlee, Curator of Museum Services, for more information on the repository designation process and if how your institution can qualify.

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Question: A local visitor to our museum brought in some moccasins and wanted to know how to clean them. They appear to be mostly caribou hide and one of them has red stains on it.  Is there any appropriate way to clean them? They are amazingly soft and pliable, and apart from the stains and damage to the horsehair decoration, appear to be in very good shape.  Do you have any suggestions for him?


ASM:  The only appropriate way to clean them as a “Home remedy” is to carefully brush the surface with a soft brush while holding the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner nearby.  This will probably do very little for the staining.  A conservator might be able to reduce the staining but it is unlikely to disappear completely or become supple again like the other parts.  My advice would be to cherish them and take better care of them from now on. Better care would be to wrap them in acid-free tissue paper and store them in a Tupperware-type container.  Keep them out of the light, keep dust off of them keep the insects away from them.  Store them in a cool dry place.

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Shaking the Money Tree

President Obama Calls for Funding Increases for Key Federal Agencies, Limits on the Deductibility of Charitable Contributions

On Monday, February 2, President Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, which begins the annual process of setting funding levels for federal agencies and programs.

The president’s $4 trillion budget proposal includes increases for several federal agencies important to museums, including:

  • $35.1 million for the Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a $5 million increase;
  • $147.9 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, a $1.9 million increase;
  • $147.9 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, a $1.9 million increase;
  • $46.9 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, level funding;
  • $10 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, a $1 million increase;
  • $30 million in new grants to preserve the sites and stories of the Civil Rights movement, part of a $50 million Civil Rights Initiative;
  • $60 million for the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program at the National Science Foundation, a $5 million increase;
  • $18.5 million for the Science Education Partnership Award program at the National Institutes of Health, level funding;
  • $2.5 billion for National Park Service operations, a $239 million increase;
  • $936 million for the Smithsonian Institution, a $116 million increase; and
  • $372 million for the National Archives and Records Administration, a $7 million increase.

Museums Alaska

Collections Management Fund

Deadline: Tuesday, March 31, 2015


In 2015, $100,000 in grants is available to museums and cultural centers in Alaska for collections management supplies and activities. The goal is to build capacity for managing collections through professional expertise, training, and conservation materials and supplies.

Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit, government, tribal entities or equivalent organizations that hold collections in the public trust, such as a museum or cultural center. Small, rural-based organizations are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to projects that are collaborative or cooperative in nature. Emergency conservation projects will be given priority. Membership in Museums Alaska is encouraged but not required.


Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

Deadline:  May 5, 2015

Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, historical objects, and digital materials.


State of Alaska

Grant in Aid

Deadline:  June 1, 2015

The Alaska State Museum awards grants to Alaska museums and museum-related organizations, such as historical societies or support groups, for projects that improve the quality of museum services and operations within the state. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis once a year.  For more information visit the website

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Spotlight on Grant in Aid

Cordova Museum


Phase II of the Cordova Center Museum Design went well, but luckily the entire Cordova Center project is behind schedule so that gave the museum more time to carry out their GIA project. They utilized the GIA grant to upgrade their technology infrastructure including workstations, software purchases, improving our LAN and improving our in-house graphics capabilities.  While the initial grant was focused on the purchase of an large format color printer, a Historical Society member and supporter generously donated nearly the same model they wished to purchase.  This donation allowed them to use the additional ‘surplus’ funds to purchase equipment to professionally photograph objects within their collection for inventory and record-keeping purposes as well as for their website and newsletter. They were also able to use some funds to purchase exhibit making materials and printing supplies.  The materials enabled them to produce the graphic and other display signage for their new Jones Laundry exhibit.

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Alaska Museums in the News

Gutskin workshop at the Yup’ik Museum in Bethel

Bowhead whales inspire art, science, culture

Thanks, CHAMPS

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Professional Development/Training Opportunities

Simplifying Preservation Planning Using Worksheets

Date/Time: March 5, 2015, 2-3:30 EST

How a small organization with limited funds and two staff members developed a successful strategy to meet its preservation and access needs.

The Hawaiian Historical Society is a small, non-profit membership organization founded in 1892 during the time of the Hawaiian Kingdom for the purpose of providing a library on the history of Hawai’i and Polynesia. Their primary goals are the preservation, care and access of their collections. This webinar will show you, in the context of a case study, how to make a long-range preservation plan using worksheets. See the steps the Hawaiian Historical Society took to identify and articulate their preservation and access needs, how they set priorities, and how they developed a long-range action plan for successfully addressing those needs. Finally, we will look at how the staff of two implemented their plan and what they have accomplished. There will be lots of handouts and practical suggestions to get you started using the worksheet method for better preservation planning in your own institutions.

Featured Speaker: Sherelyn Ogden is the book and paper conservator at the Minnesota Historical Society. In addition, she has a private consultation and treatment practice for the preservation of library and archival materials. Previously she held the positions of Director of Field Services at the Midwest Art Conservation Center and Director of Book Conservation at the Northeast Document Conservation Center. She has more than thirty-five years of experience in the field as a practicing conservator, consultant and teacher and has written and edited dozens of professional publications. She is the author of Preservation Planning: Guidelines for Writing a Long-Range Plan. Sherelyn holds a BA from Bucknell University and an MA from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago. She is a Fellow of both the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Sign up (it’s free):


Native American Museum Studies Institute:

A Professional Development Opportunity for Tribal Museum Professionals to be held at

University of California, Berkeley Tuesday, June 9 – Friday, June12, 2015

Sponsored by:

  • Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, UC Berkeley
  • California Indian Museum and Cultural Center
  • Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Supported with generous funding from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Goal: to develop the capacity of tribal community members to

  • Conserve and revitalize tribal cultural heritage
  • Foster tribal representations and partnerships
  • Educate tribal and non-tribal communities through museum development and exhibits

Workshop topics will include:

  • Collections Management and Cataloging
  • Conservation/Collections Care
  • Curation and Exhibit Design
  • Educational Programming
  • Museum Management
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
  • Museum Fundraising
  • Tribal Partnerships and Collaborations with Counties, States, and Agencies 


  • Priority will be given to those already working or volunteering with a tribe’s collection in a museum or in another tribal cultural preservation project
  • Those planning a museum or other cultural preservation project may also apply and may be accepted depending upon availability


  • The training is tuition free to the participants.
  • A $50 non-refundable fee will be used to provide lunch and materials.
  • Participants will be responsible for their other meals, lodging, and travel expenses (see website for more details). Partial travel stipends are available in case of financial need.


  • Review of applications will begin on March 2, 2015.
  • Space is limited
  • Application form and complete application instructions can be downloaded from our website at or obtained via fax or mail by calling 510-643-7237.

For more information, call Christine Trost at 510-643-7237 or email .

Balboa Art Conservation Center

Focus on Collections Care is a series of workshops for institutions with material-based collections.

The Balboa Art Conservation Center welcomes all museum professionals, volunteers, students, and interested people to learn about basic preservation theory and best practices from professional conservators and other experts in the field.  Our workshops combine solid, detailed theory with hands-on learning and practical ideas for improving collections care at your institution.

March 25-27, 2015 in Seattle Washington the following workshops will be held on:

Stipend application deadline is March 6th, 2015

Financial assistance of $110 is available to defray registration costs for one participant in each workshop. To be eligible, individuals must work for a nonprofit institution, with an operating budget of $500,000 or less, that has historical or cultural collections that are accessible to the public. Additional stipends are available to participants from tribal museums and institutions.

For more information and to register, please visit

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Professional Time Wasting on the Web

After Fire, A Rush to Preserve History

WWII Veteran’s Recording Recovered with IRENE Technology

One of the most interesting museums in the world

What is the truth?  When do we know it?  This is why we have artifacts in museums.

Gettysburg skull turns out to be that of a Southwest Native American 700 years old

52 Weird Museums across the US.  Guess which one they picked in Alaska?!

Speaking of Weird Museums…what does a teapot museum in china look like?

Robbers Crash into Wells Fargo Museum to Steal Gold Nuggets


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