Museums and Cultural Centers are anchor institutions in Alaskan communities of every size. They educate children and adults. They contribute to a community’s sense of place and identity through history, art, culture, and knowledge of our natural environment. They contribute to our economy and wellbeing through employment and cultural tourism.
This January 28-29, 2015, Museums Alaska will join CHAMP partners Alaska State Council of the Arts, the Alaska Humanities Forum, and the Alaska Historical Society to promote the importance of Alaskan museums and cultural centers to our legislators in Juneau. Each agency visits legislators to discuss the work we do statewide and in our respective communities. As part of the Fly-In activities, the Alaska State Council on the Arts will host the Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities, January 29, 2015. Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/GovernorsAwards2015.
In 2014 a McDowell Group survey for The Foraker Group demonstrated critical infrastructure needs for Alaska’s cultural institutions that care for and exhibit our collections. Of the 36 museums contacted, 27, or 75% identified significant capital improvement needs within the next five years. The top four priorities are exhibition space expansion or improvement; increase in facility size; collections storage expansion; and security improvements. Museums Alaska will continue to advance capital grant legislation sponsored by Representative Bob Herron of Bethel for eligible museum construction, expansion, and major renovation projects.
“Our state’s cultural and natural heritage is an important resource that deserves protection and this proposed legislation is the first step towards helping our museums and cultural centers improve their aging facilities,” says Museums Alaska President, Angela Linn.
Eva Malvich, Director of The Yupiit Piciryarait Museum, based in Bethel, and Museums Alaska Vice President states, “Our collection is an important asset for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. Many of our artists’ work are in our collection, within easy distance to the 58 tribes that we serve. Our mission is to teach our future elders who we are as a Yup’ik people. Our collection is vital to sustaining our culture. By understanding how our objects were made, and more importantly, how they were used to keep us fed and clothed, is why our collection is so important to us. Our future generations can still learn who they are simply by getting to know the collection. In a way, we are safeguarding our past by preserving our collection.”
Museums Alaska is a statewide association of Alaska’s museum professionals and volunteers whose mission is to provide opportunities for improvement of museum and culture center services in Alaska and to enhance public understanding of the purposes and functions of Alaska’s museums and culture centers. For more information on Fly-In activities contact www.museumsalaska.org.