Museums Alaska / Alaska Historical Society Conference


Online Registration is CLOSED!
You can register in person at the conference, but you'll need to bring either cash or a checkbook for payment. Full registration is $300; daily rates ranging from $100 to $125/day are available. Registration is open at the K.M. Rae Building from 8:00 am-4:00 pm Wednesday; at the Alaska SeaLife Center from 5:30-7:00 pm Wednesday; at the K.M. Rae Building from 7:30 am-5:00 pm Thursday and Friday, and beginning at 8:00 am Saturday.

Make plans, check the Full Conference Schedule.
Short on time? Scan the Schedule at a Glance.

Session Abstracts - Read through the conference abstracts:
Museums Alaska sessions
Alaska Historical Society sessions

To coordinate ride shares from Anchorage to Seward, go to

Museums Alaska

Conference Theme“Milestones: Interpreting events that change the course of communities.
” Museums collect objects, record accounts and share stories. This year’s conference will explore the opportunities and challenges museums face in commemorating community milestones ranging from the tragic to the triumphant.

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Jan Ramirez is chief curator and vice president of Collections for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. At the New-York Historical Society she played a major role in developing its History Responds initiative, a series of exhibitions, public programs, and collection acquisition efforts focused on the 9/11 attacks in their broad historical context. She previously has held curatorial, interpretation, collections development and senior administrative posts at museums in Boston and New York.

Dr. Ramirez's talk is titled Too Soon? Too Sad? Too Sensitive? Too Sacred? Some Lessons Learned in Creating a Museum of HIstory and Memory at Ground Zero."

Alaska Historical Society

Conference Theme“Gateways: Past, Present and Future.” Resurrection Bay has been a gateway for travel and trade since prehistoric times when Alaska Natives along the coast traveled by boat and on trails to the Interior. Russian fur traders built a shipyard here. Seward got its start as an ice-free steamship port that linked people and freight traveling by railroad and the original Iditarod trail.

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Paul Hirt is a historian specializing in the American West, glo­bal environmental history, environmental policy and sustainability studies at Arizona State University. His publications include a monograph on the history of electric power in the U.S. Northwest and British Columbia (The Wired Northwest); a history of national forest management since WWII (A Conspiracy of Optimism); and two collections of essays on Northwest history (Terra Pacifica and Northwest Lands, Northwest Peoples).

His talk, Sustainability: Interpreting the Past, Imagining the Future, will address how we can engage with the emerging international conversation about sustainability. The phrase “sustainable development” gained international prominence in 1987 in a report by the UN Commission on Environment and Development, which defined it as that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The report advocated for a harmonious integration of economic development, environmental protection, and social justice.

The desire to create healthy, stable and peaceful communities living in harmony with nature is as old as humanity itself. Likewise, concern by one generation for the legacy it will leave the next generation is widely shared across time and place in human history. At heart, sustainability is a principle of intergenerational ethics that acknowledges moral obligations between present and future generations. Because we cannot know the future, our best guide for evaluating our impact on future generations is to draw analogies from the past. Alaska’s public history institutions can play a central role in interpreting the past in ways that illuminate contemporary sustainability challenges and that help the public and policy makers imagine possible futures that are economically secure, socially just, and environmentally benign.

2014 Schedule Preview

Wednesday, Oct. 1  Pre-conference workshops on gallery exhibits for community spaces and grants submittal.

Wednesday, Oct. 1  Evening reception at the Alaska SeaLife Center followed by a 1-hour readers' theater presentation of selections from a full-length play -- And Now the World Again by Doug Capra -- about American artist Rockwell Kent and his 9-year-old son, who stayed on Fox Island in Resurrection Bay during 1918-19. In 1920 he published a book based on his illustrated letters – Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska. The play dramatizes much that Kent didn’t include in his book, including excerpts from letters written to his wife and his mistress, his 1953 confrontation with Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the humorous exploits of his island host, fox farmer Lars Olson – and Kent’s battle with the town of Seward.
Thursday, Oct. 2  Conference sessions, lunch on your own at one of Seward’s fine restaurants, and evening reception at the Seward Community Library Museum followed by a double-feature film screening at the K.M. Rae Building. Uksuum Cauyai: Drums of Winter, an ethnographic documentary film focusing on the Yupik people living in Emmonak, will begin at 8 p.m. Shot in 1977, this 16 mm film recently underwent photochemical preservation. The Mystery of the Copper River, a 38-minute film produced by Mikhail Malakov, begins at 9:30 p.m. In this award-winning documentary, Malakov and his fellow adventurers retrace the ill-fated 1848 journey of Russian explorers Rufus Serebrenikov and Alexev Pestruakov who traveled the Copper River country in an attempt to establish relations with the Ahtna people. In Russian with English subtitles.
Friday, Oct. 3  Conference sessions, State of the State Lunch, and Awards Banquet.
Saturday, Oct. 4  Writing workshop (this workshop is FULL) and conference sessions until noon, then local tours. See below.

Post-Conference Tours
Seavey’s IdidaRide sled dog ride and kennel tour
Tour of historic downtown Seward led by historian Lee Poleske (this tour is FULL)
Major Marine boat tour of Resurrection Bay with Tom Osborne discussing WWII history

Conference Venues
K.M. Rae Building, 125 Third Ave. (registration, sessions & breaks)
Alaska SeaLife Center, 301 Railway Ave. (sessions & Wed. reception)
Qutekcak Native Tribe Office, 221 Third Ave. (sessions)
St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 239 Second Ave. (session)
Seward Community Library Museum, 239 Sixth Ave. (workshops, board meetings, sessions & Thurs. reception)
Dale Lindsey Alaska Railroad Terminal, 913 Port Ave. (Fri. luncheon & banquet)

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