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Museum Projects

The Alutiiq Museum's staff conducts research on many aspects of Alutiiq heritage. We study Alutiiq collections in museum's around the world, lead archaeological field work, conduct oral history interviews, and document the Alutiiq language. Here are some examples of recent and on-going research projects.
 

Alitak Petroglyph Survey

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Sven Haakanson creates a petroglyph rubbing.

Alitak Petroglyph Survey

Despite their enormous popularity, Kodiak's petroglyphs have never been systematically documented. Alutiiq Museum Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is working to accomplish this massive task. For the past decade, he has enlisted the help of Akhiok residents to locate and document petroglyphs around Cape Alitak. In May of 2010, he led a professional survey of the region, working with museum archaeologists to document the glyphs and nearby archaeological sites. The Alitak glyphs are the largest cluster of stationary rock art in the Kodiak region, with over 700 images pecked into shoreline bolders. This is critical work, as the glyphs are fading with time.

 

LEARN MORE:

The Cape Alitak Petroglyphs -
video podcast by WonderVisions, inc.

From the Old People, The Cape Alitak Petroglyphs -
book by Woody Knebel

Collections Surveys

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Alutiiq masks stored in France

Alutiiq Collections Surveys

In the ninetenth century, American and European traders collected Alutiiq objects, sending items to museums around the world. There are pieces of Alutiiq heritage stored in places like New England, California, Russia, France, Great Brittian, Finland, and Germany. Alutiiq Museum Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is working to reunite Alutiiq people with these pieces. By traveling to distant museums and documenting Alutiiq objects, he is bringing information home and forming friendships so that items can one day travel to Kodiak. His photos and notes provide information for museum exhibits and programs, inspiration for artists, and a sense of pride for all Alutiiqs.

In February 2013, Alutiiq skin sewers will travel to Finland with Haakanson and Master skin sewer Susan Malutin, to study garments in the Etholen Collection, with support from a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Site Stewardship

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Volunteer Bill Barker by a vandal's hole

 

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Site Stewardship Program

Archaeological sites are a non-renewable resource. Once disturbed, the information they hold is lost forever. Since 1998, museum archaeologists have partnered with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to document the condition of archaeological sites in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. With the help of 39 volunteer families, our team has evaluated 462 sites through 962 individual site visits. This represents nearly half of all the known sites in the archipelago! More importantly, monitoring by stewards and public education by the museum have slowed the rate of destrictive, illegal site vandalism.

LEARN MORE: 

Alaska Office of History and Archaeology
National Park Service
National Park Service in Alaska

Steward News - Issue 1, May 2006
Steward News - Issue 2, April 2007
Steward News - Issue 3, April 2008
Steward News - Issue 4, April 2009
Steward News - Issue 5, April 2010
Steward News - Issue 6, April 2011
Steward News
- Issue 7, May 2012
Steward News - Issue 8, May 2013
Steward News - Issue 9, Coming Apil 2014

Contact curator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 907-486-7004, x23, to volunteer with the stewardship team.

 

Quyanaa to our 2012 Site Stewards

Suzanne Abraham, Andy Christofferson,
John Crye, Brigid and Harry Dodge, Sam Dunning,
Jacob Harding, Marnie Leist, Hans Klausner,
Mike Munsey, Dan Ogg, Sue Jeffrey, Susan Payne,
Leila Pyle, Patrick Saltonstall, Mike Sirofchuck,
Jack Withrow, Catherine West, Jeffrey Aaron Woods

Womens Bay Archaeology

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Students excavate the Array site

Womens Bay Archaeological Project

Archaeological sites are like books, each one has a unique story to tell. By studying many sites in the same region, Alutiiq Museum archaeologists This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. are gaining a fuller picture of prehistoric life. They are building a library of information for one area. Their research focuses on Womens Bay, and arm of larger Chiniak Bay. Here they have been excavating sites that span Kodiak's 7,500 year's of human history to better understand the development of settlement village life. When did Alutiiqs begin to live in permanent houses? When did they begin to store great quantities of food for the winter?

Since 1997, the archaeologists have excavated samples from eight sites in different environments within the bay - working at the Blisky site on Near Island, the Outlet and Array sites on the Buskin River, Zaimka Mound and Mikt’sqaaq Angayukatat the bay mouth, and Salonie Mound, Bruhn Point, and the Amak site in the inner bay.

Volunteers, students and interns participate in the research as part of the museum's Community Archaeology Program.