February 2019 meeting recap

Our February meeting focused on outreach! Thanks to the about 15 people who participated. Lots of great suggestions out there about what our colleagues are doing in terms of outreach efforts.

First up, the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum. They’ve been making use of Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and deliberately following specific accounts from the region. They’ve also joined their local Community of Commerce. In more traditional methods, they have a three page newsletter that comes out about 6 times a year, subscription is via an online form. About 9000 subscribers? Wow.

Rose from the Aviation Museum talked about a social media effort they’re doing in March for Women’s History Month where they’re doing daily social media posts about women pilots in Alaska, and this even will be wrapped up with a party at the end of the month.

We talked a little bit about the Alaska Historical Society’s resolution in support of archives in Alaska. Here’s a copy of the text (Thanks to Pennelope of the Alaska Jewish Museum and AHS member):

Alaska Historical Society

Resolution of concern regarding Alaska’s archives

(November 8, 2018)

WHEREAS, manuscripts, diaries, public records, maps, photographs, films, and recordings are the primary source materials of Alaska’s history and are irreplaceable treasures; and

WHEREAS these archival materials need adequate facilities and trained professionals for their preservation and for safekeeping while making them available to attorneys, land and resource managers, public officials, scientists, historians, genealogists, Alaska Natives, and individuals for many diverse purposes; and

WHEREAS, the members of the Alaska Historical Society, a statewide organization dedicated to the preservation, development, and understanding of Alaska’s history, have become aware of reductions of professional staff and deterioration of several facilities where Alaska’s archival records are housed; and

WHEREAS, the closing of the Alaska office of the National Archives and Records Administration in 2014, moved collections and made access to them by Alaskans more difficult and more expensive; and

WHEREAS, two recent floods and the unwanted growth of mold at the world-renowned Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives of the University of Alaska Fairbanks have led to curtailed access to the archives by staff and the public in addition to threatening the records themselves; and

WHEREAS, a flood earlier this year in the Alaska Room at the Z.J. Loussac Municipal Library in Anchorage, damaged over 1,000 items, some irreparably. Subsequent decisions have been to close the Alaska Room, to not dedicate professional staff to the significant Alaskana collection, and to divide the collection; and

WHEREAS, the private archive of the Anchorage Times, a newspaper published for 76 years, is in storage in Arkansas, and hence not available to researchers; and

WHEREAS, cumulatively, in the last five years the people of Alaska have lost access to records critically needed by them; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Alaska Historical Society regards the public and private archives in Alaska to be endangered and calls on Alaska’s Congressional delegates, Governor, Legislators, University of Alaska, and municipal officials to provide funding for professional staff for the protection, care, and collection of these irreplaceable materials, and for public access to the materials.

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