Thursday, October 25, 2012

Losing Light, Not Energy

Kodiak is indisputably brown these days, and we can no longer fool ourselves into thinking that the snow visible on top of Barometer is going to melt. The front porch is decorated with Halloween lanterns and cobwebs in anticipation for trick-or-treating festivities, and we are waiting for those errant bears to get their fill and go to sleep. In short, winter is coming.

While nature may be winding down, it seems that the Baranov Museum is in fact winding up, with October being a thrilling month. And now, to the synopsis...

Kodiak's Filipino Community Stories Exhibit Opening

Nita Nichols, Mary Guilas-Hawver, and Ben Achas at the
exhibit opening.
On Friday, October 5, we were so proud to open the first exhibit in Kodiak about our island's largest ethnic minority, the Filipino community, in honor of Filipino-American History Month. And what an event it was!

Mary Guilas- Hawver, exhibit advisor and President of project partner the Filipino-American Association of Kodiak, started the evening with a ribbon cutting. Dozens of community members were in attendance, including mayor Pat Branson, Superintendent Stuart McDonald and Assistant Superintendent Marilyn Davidson. Our guests of honor were the students who directed the films that are currently on exhibit in the museum and available online.

Above, Fil-Am Kodiak brought tasty Filipino refreshments.
Below, participants and supporters of the history and film
intensive gather to watch student-directed films.
There were so many special moments that evening. It was wonderful to see individuals highlighted in the exhibit in attendance, many of them watching the films that they were in for the first time. One of my favorite memories of the night was watching a traditional Filipino dance troupe perform in front of the bust of Alexander I, which was brought to Kodiak in 1805. To me, Filipino dancing alongside a potent symbol of Russian America seems to capture a bit of the soul of Kodiak.

The exhibit will be open through the month of January, so please come by and check it out. Special thanks to our project partners, Media Action, KIBSD, and Fil-Am Kodiak, as well as our sponsors, the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Inlandboatmen's Union.

Alaska Historical Society/ Museums Alaska Conference

Sarah Short, our new Curator of Education, and I (Anjuli Grantham, Curator of Collections) traveled to Sitka a few days after the exhibit opening for the annual joint conference of the Alaska Historical Society and Museums Alaska. It was both of our first visits to the second capital of Russian America (remember Kodiak was the first), and we were both charmed and impressed by the historic architecture, tiny islands, and friendly community. The conference itself was a whirlwind of meetings, sessions, and speakers, during which we both learned so much about the history of our state and innovations within the museum field.

I had the honor of presenting in the session, "Documenting Alaska's Filipino Heritage." While I provided an overview of the history of Filipinos in Kodiak, Marie Acemah, the museum's former Curator of Education and the current Executive Director of Media Action, spoke about the history and film intensive and inspired audience members to capture local history through youth training and empowerment. The session ended with the touching and incredible story of Denis Rodill, presented by his daughter, Diane Rodill. Diane is tracking the footsteps of her "rascal" father, who left the Philippines alone as a teenager and embarked on a lifelong, worldwide journey, which included working at the Alaska Packers Association cannery at Larsen Bay in 1915. Our fingers are crossed that Diane turns her research into a book. In the meantime, for a snapshot of Denis's story, you can watch the film directed by Olivia Bennett, Denis's Story.

"In with the Old" Auction

Finally, the Kodiak Historical Society board of directors is busy putting together what will be an incredible dinner auction. "In with the Old" is a 1940s themed event, with a silent and live auction featuring antiques and collectibles. Just the live jazz music, catering by Chef Joel, and plenty of 1940s decor and photos of Kodiak will make this event one to remember. Throw in the dazzling array of auction items, and you have an event that will be just over the top.

For a sampling of some of the auction items, please check out our album.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 10, and swing by the museum or Mill Bay Coffee to pick up your tickets, which are $50 each and going fast.

No comments:

Post a Comment