2017 Museums Alaska / Alaska Historical Society Joint Conference.
The 2017 Annual Conference is located in the Anchorage Museum, in the heart of Downtown Anchorage. It is within walking distance of hotels, shopping, restaurants and nightlife.
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska at nearly 230,000 sq/ft. The original structure opened in 1968 with 250 objects and 1500 images on loan from the Cook Inlet Historical Society. Since then, it has undergone 4 separate expansions including the 30,000 sq/ft new Art of the North Gallery that opens September 15. Additionally, the new Alaska Exhibition will be completed and open to the public the same day. Together, they represent a huge investment in the preservation of the arts, history and culture of Alaska .
Once Alaska was known to the world as Russian America. All of that ended 150 years ago when William H. Seward and Edward de Stoeckl signed the treaty that ceded those Russian possessions to the United States. Since then Alaska has evolved from a military district, to a territory, and finally into the forty-ninth state of the United States. This year the Anchorage Museum is hosting the joint Alaska Historical Society/Museums Alaska annual conference. The 2017 theme—Exploring the Legacy of the Alaska Purchase—invites reflections on how that moment charted a new destiny for Alaska. In particular the theme opens the door for indigenous perspectives on the meaning of this pivotal event. Please join us as we examine how Alaska’s history unfolded, is unfolding and may yet unfold since that day in 1867 when Czar Alexander II abandoned North America. Presentations on Alaska history topics are welcome.
Our featured speaker will be Professor Willie Hensley, author of Fifty Miles from Tomorrow and an Alaskan who shaped the state we live in today.
Social Discourse: Responding to Our Communities
How can museums be a safe space for expression and social discourse? As museums, we aim to be inclusive, to encourage dialogue, and to support our communities. As our communities’ needs change, how do we respond and stay relevant? Given this current political and economic landscape, the museum’s role as educator, mediator, and possible agitator becomes all the more important. Should museums remain neutral? How can we responsibly encourage these important conversations through our programming, exhibits and outreach?
Our featured speaker will be Sean Kelley, Senior Vice President of Interpretation, Eastern State Penitentiary Site, Philadelphia PA