ALUTIIQ MUSEUM  215 Mission Road, Kodiak, Alaska 99615   |  844-425-8844  |  view calendar > | search >

Photographic Collections

Photographs are among the most widely used museums collections.  People consult our photographs to study recent Alutiiq history, find pictures of family members, illustrate publications, and learn about traditions. The Alutiiq Museum cares for over 100,000 photographic images. These collections include slides, prints, negatives, and digital images illustrating Alutiiq people, cultural activities, communities, heritage programs, archaeological excavations, and the Kodiak environment. Most of these images are color and date to the twentieth century. Images for which the museum does not hold copyright, nearly 11,000 pictures, reside in our library. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 844-425-8844, x18. for more information on using our photograph collections.

The Anderson Family beside their Chignik home. Erikson Collection.

Photograph Requests

Photos owned by the museum are available for duplication. To learn about working with our photographic collections, or schedule and appointment, please complete our Request to Conduct Research Form.

Duplicating Museum Photographs

The Alutiiq Museum provides copies of photographs from its archives upon request, and can be contracted to take images of certain objects in its collections. The museum will only distribute images for which it owns the copyright and charges fees for both duplication and commercial uses.  To learn more about our photographic services, please consult the following handout, Image Reproduction and Publication Fees and Conditions.

To make a photographic, duplication, or publication request, please complete the appropriate form(s) below.  Forms can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or faxed to the museum at 866-335-7767.

Image Use Request
Scan and Photography Request

Preserve & Share Your Photographs

Do you have historic photographs or a family album that record details of life on Kodiak?  Would you like to share these images?  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 844-425-8844, x18, about digitizing your images for care at the Alutiiq Museum.  We can scan and return your originals while preserving an electronic copy  in our files.

Prints & Slides

The Alutiiq Museum's permanent photograph collections include approximately; 7,400 prints (black & white, color, polaroid, and ink jet), 13,500 slides, and 11,200 negatives. The majority of these collections are inventoried, with catalogs available for review. To assist patrons, we group these collections into three categories–archaeology, family images, and heritage projects.  Download a list of the collections available in each category to learn more.

Archaeology Photographs
Family Photographs

Heritage Project Photographs

Spotlight Collections


Abel Collection


From the late 1940s through the early 1960s teacher and missionary Violet Abel lived in the Alutiiq community of Old Harbor.  Her collection of photographs, loaned to the Alutiiq Museum from the Old Harbor Native Corporation, includes 170 color images.  Many of these photos depict children at play and at school.  Others are family portraits, show the layout of the community, document seasonal activities like fishing, sledding, picnicing and hunting, or record celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays.

Photo: Sledding in Old Harbor, 1952. Abel Collection. Gift of the CIty of Old Harbor.

Abel Collection Catalog


Armstrong Collection

ImagePeople who remember Alutiiq leader Karl Armstrong sometimes compare him to a Kodiak bear - larger than life, generally genial, but not someone you wanted to anger.  This twentieth century Alutiiq leader was instrumental in forming the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.  He was a powerful voice for the Alutiiq people.

A collection of Armstrong's personal papers are part of the Alutiiq Museum's holdings, a gift of Armstrong's nephew, Gordon Pullar.  The archive provides a detailed view of Armstrong's life from his run for State Senate to his days as editor of the Kodiak paper, a Koniag Board member, and a steward of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.   Personal correspondence, Alaskan newspapers clippings, campaign materials, yearbooks, awards, and photographs preserve Armstrong's story.

The archive also documents life around Kodiak from the 1950s - 1980s. This is particularly true of Armstrong's photographs, which show cultural activities - like a basket workshop with Eunice Neseth - and scenes of village life.
Photo: Children in Akhiok, April 1973. Armstrong Collecction. Gift of Gordon Pullar

Armstrong Collection Catalog


Senafont, Mildred & Cotia Shugak, Old Harbor, 1960. Befu Collection.

Befu Collection

Anthropologist Harumi Befu, a Wisconsin graduate student, recognized the importance of recording details when he visited Old Harbor in the summer of 1960.  His photographs include 72 color slides and 5 prints of community life - and every image is labeled!  Befu identified each person in each image, tying the pictures to his careful fieldnotes.  As a student of anthropology, Befu visited Old Harbor to learn about Alutiiq traditions. His pictures and notes show a keen interest in genealogy.  Although he photographed the community, its church, school, and scenery, most of his images are of people - family groups, children playing, men at work.  Index cards with notes from his conversations with community members further tie these images to life in Old Harbor.  Each card is assigned a category -  community, fishing, and equipment for example - and most have quotes from community members.  Such detailed recording is unusual and reflects Befu's background as a researcher.  However, because Befu so carefully labeled his photo, 50 years later we can still know a great deal about the people they depict.

Befu Collection Catalog


First, second, and third grade students,
Ouzinkie, AK, Fall 1951. Heinrich Collection.

Heinrich Collection

In 1945, Marie Heinrichs, the great niece of Grimes Packing Company owner Oscar Grimes, moved to Ouzinkie, Alaska to work at the cannery and keep her aunt company.  She waited tables in the cannery dining hall and baked bread in the kitchen.  There, she met and married Ray Heinrichs, a set netter who fished at Carmel in the summers and ran the Ouzkinkie store in the winters.  Ray took the photo shown here between the late 1940s and the early 1950s.  In the fall of 2006, Marie donated Ray's photos of Ouzinkie to the Alutiiq Museum.

The Heinrich's collection includes 65 images from the Alutiiq community of dating between 1948 and 1954.  Slides and photographs, most in color, show the layout of the village, activites along its waterfront, and the Nativity of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Chapel.  Heinrich's also captured the beloved community preist Father Gerasim Schmaltz, children at the Ouzinkie mission school, wood cutting, and images of spiritual practices - starring and masking.

Heinrich Collection Catalog



Joe Kelley photographs Bud Rozelle
building a kayak.

KANA Collection

In 1995, the Kodiak Area Native Association worked with Kodiak's Alutiiq corporations to found the Alutiiq Museum. When the museum opened its doors, KANA turned the large collections from its Culture and Heritage division over to the care of the new museum. From KANA, the Alutiiq Museum inherited archaeological materials, artwork, archives, and thousands of photographs.

Many of the photographs reflect KANA's history, documenting the growth of the organization and its activities from the 1970s until 1995. More than 4,000 slides, prints, and negatives record KANA's early years. The collection contains photographs of conferences, board meetings, staff members, health initiatives, and heritage programs. There are images of everything from KANA representatives attending AFN meetings to people learning to process sea lion intestine.

There are also many pictures of Kodiak people. The collection contain photos of KANA leaders like Gordon Pullar and Margaret Roberts, as well as many beloved Elders including Clyda Christensen, Daniel Boone Reed, Larry Matfay, Zoya Shugak, Pete Olsen, Victor Peterson, and others. This large assemblage of photographs provides a pictorial view of the late twentieth century Alutiiq community services and the awakening of the heritage movement.

KANA Collection Catalog


Karluk youth and Bryn Mawr College students excavate an historic Alutiiq house in 1984. Top Row (from left): Rick Knecht, Daryl Squartsoff, Mary Loemker, Marie Shugak, Bottom Row: Catherine Reft, Barbara Cellarius, Robin Squartsoff. Koniag, Inc. Collection.

Koniag, Inc. Collection

Archaeologists have been part of Kodiak's cultural landscape for nearly a century, studying the deep history of Alutiiq peoples by investigating ancient villages. And because archaeology is a destructive science - once you dig up a site you can never go back and study it again - archaeologists take lots of photographs.

The Alutiiq Museum's archaeological collections contain thousands of prints and slides. One of the largest collections of archaeological photographs comes from Karluk, the Alutiiq village at the mouth of the salmon rich Karluk River.   Between 1983 and 1987, archaeologists from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania worked with the Kodiak Area Native Association and Koniag, Inc. to study the history of human settlement along this productive stream.  Many Karluk youth assisted, peeling back layers of earth to reveal their ancestors' houses and tools.  Photos from the excavations document their finds - from banya rocks and beads to graceful wooden bows and baskets.  These photos show much more than archaeological finds.  They also illustrate the seeds of the heritage movement.  The collaboration between Alutiiq people and scientists in Karluk, and development of large, beautiful ancestral collections, inspired many cultural programs and led the way to the development of the Alutiiq Museum.

Catalog of Photographs from the Nunakakhnak Archaeological Excavation


Men on a raft off the coast of Kodiak.  Eight names were written beside this image - Anin, Naumoff, Sharftin, Hoffser, Nelson, Boskofsky, Lukin, and Robbins.  Photo by Dennis Winn, ca. 1914.  McCubrey Collection.

Mcubrey Collection

Images of the Alutiiq world often surface far from home.  In Nashua, New Hampshire, the Alutiiq Museum found Kodiak photos from the early decades of the twentieth century.  Pasted into a black-paged album were more than 40 images of Alutiiq people and their activities, many labeled with familiar family names; Boskofsky, Charliaga, Lukin, Naumoff, and Panamaroff, and places; Afognak, Ouzinkie and Uganik.  The images were taken by Dennis Winn, “Bristol Bay Fish Culturalist at Large” for the US Bureau of Fisheries, who toured the archipelago around 1914.

The album belongs to March McCubrey.  Mr. McCubrey received the photo collection as a gift from the late Catherine Winn, Mr. Winn’s niece and McCubrey’s neighbor in Nashua.  Recognizing that it might be of interest to an Alaskan historian, McCubrey contacted John Branson, historian for Lake Clark National Park, who in turn contacted the Alutiiq Museum.  On a trip east, a museum staff member visited McCubrey and arranged to have the album professionally photographed for the museum’s collections. 
Dennis Winn’s photographs are important for several reasons.  First, his images come from an era not well represented in the museum’s collections.  Photography was still relatively expensive at the time Winn took the images and not widely accessible.  There are simply fewer pictures of Kodiak from this time.  Second, Winn, labeled many of the images with the names of people and places.  At a time when Native people were often omitted from photo captions or simply identified as a Native person, Winn record the names of the people he photographed.  In his images we find family members.

McCubrey Collection Catalog


Carl Don Nekeferoff with sea ducks in the early 1960s. Nekeferoff Collection.

Nekeferoff Collection

Hunting stories and fish tales always always get a little bigger over time, but photographs seldom lie!  The Nekeferoff collection, a set of 1500 color slides, documents many of the outdoor activities of Nick Nekeferoff and his family.  Photos of large bears, impressive strings of trout, jumbo razor clams, birds eggs and flounder illustrate Alutiiq subsitence and guiding activities in the 1960s. Nekeferoff was a well known bear guide who worked for Charlie Madsen, Alf Madsen, Bill Polland, and Park Munsey, and he was one of the few Alutiiq men to obtain his registered guide liscense.

The Nekeferoff photo collection came to the Alutiiq Museum in two parts.  Andi Olsen found some of the images sitting in a trunk at a yard sale and brought them to the museum.  When Bob Erickson learned of the find, he gave the museum additional Nekeferoff family slides.  Beyond hunting and fishing, the collection contains many images of community life and scenery from both Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula.  There are even photos of men preparing for deep sea diving.  One person's garbage is indeed another's treasure!

Nekeferoff Collection Catalog - Olsen Gift
Nekeferoff Collection Catalog - Erickson Gift


Governor Bill Eagan and Bill Boskofsky in Ouzkinie, with children Lesley Shangin and Andy Lee Boskofsky. Olsen Collection.

Olsen Collection

When Gladys Gregorieff Olsen died, her son and Marius found hundreds of photographs in her home.  Many of these depicted  family events, but some were much older.  Marius and his wife Andi recognized the historical value of these imageas and generously dontated them to the Alutiiq Museum.

The Gladys Olsen collection (AM467) contains 214 black and white images and one audio tape.  Many photos show Afognak village, where Mrs. Olsen was born and raised just after the turn of the twentieth century.  The set also include scenes of the clam cannery in Kukak Bay, where she spent a summer working as a teenager.  Most of the photos picture people, documenting Gladys, her family, friends, and co-workers. 

This shot of Governor BIll Egan in Ouzinkie is the most recent image in the set.  It dates to about the 1960s, based on the dates of Egan's service as Alaska's top executive. Despite the modest age of this image, most of the photos in the Olsen collection are much older.  The fashions worn by those pictured suggest that they were taken in the 1930s.

Olsen Collection Catalog



Boats at the dock in Ouzinkie.
Oswalt Collection.

Oswalt Collection

Museums collect objects.  Tools, clothes, and artwork record cultural traditions and allow people to explore the past directly- without the filter of text books or historians.  Not all objects fit neatly on museum shelves, however.  Take boats, for example.  Watercraft are essential to life on Kodiak.   Through the ages, vessels of many kinds have transported Alutiiq fisherman.  The Alutiiq Museum seeks to document these vessels, but many are too big for our museum.  A kayak fits in our gallery, but a seiner is beyond our capabilities! 

When objects exceed storage space, photographs can be very helpful.  Images provide a way for small repositories to store essential information.  The Reed Oswalt Collection is an excellent example of the power of photographs to preserve technology.  Donated to the museum in 2005, this collection contains 82 color slides of the Ouzinkie waterfront taken by Reed's father - Marion (Jake) Oswalt, an employee of the Grimes Packing Company.  The images depict nearly two decades of activities along the Ouzinkie shore, from 1936 to 1953, and provide detailed photographs of boats, docks, and canneries in this busy fishing community.  In these photos are many examples of fishing boats, the gear used to out fit them, and people at work on boats.  And the collection fills up just one file folder!

Oswalt Collection Catalog


Sasha Christiansen holds a great grandson.
Photo by Mike Rostad. Rostad Collection.

Rostad Collection

Sasha Kelly Christiansen spent her life caring for children, 23 of her own and 60 grandchildren. She was born in the Alutiiq village of Eagle Harbor, and raised in Old Harbor.  As a young woman cooking at a cannery in Three Saints Bay, Sasha met Norwegian fisherman Rolf Christiansen. They were married soon after. She spoke Alutiiq.  He spoke Norwegian.  Yet the couple fished together, raised a very large family, and eventually learned to communicate in English.

Sasha's inspiring life story is just one of hundreds captured over the past thirty years by Kodiak journalist and photographer Mike Rostad. Rostad tells stories about people - from the service of a local veteran, to the kindness of an Orthodox priest, or the fourth of July celebrations in Alutiiq communities, his work documents the lives and activies of Kodiak residents, weaving a colorful cultural tapestry. 

Now Rostad helped to preserve Kodiak stories by donating his photographs to the Alutiiq Museum.  More than 500 prints and negatives, in both color and black and white, document the recent history of Kodiak from the early 1980s to the present.  Many are also linked to his articles in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, links that provide rich background for his images and the people, like Sasha Christiansen, they celebrate.

Rostad Collection Catalog



Downtown Kodiak, Summer 1964.
Workman Collection.

Workman Collection

In June of 1964, archaeologists Bill Workman and Don Clark, graduate students at the University of Wisconsin, returned to Kodiak.  Just three months after the Great Alaska Earthquake and its powerful tsunamis struck Kodiak, there were rumors of eroding sites and beaches littered with artifacts.  In addition to studying Alutiiq prehistory, the archaeologists wanted to understand how tectonic activity affected ancient settlements.

Workman and Clark visited sites in Anton Larsen Bay, Afognak Bay, Spruce Island, and Long Island, taking photos as they worked.  Their images eventually became part of the Alutiiq Museum's photographic collections.  The Workman collection contains 348 color slides and 118 negatives.  In addition to documenting sites and their contents, these images show the effects of the earthquake on the landscape and the Kodiak community.

This picture of the City of Kodiak from the summer of 1964 shows the downtown area.  The extent of tsunami damage is still visible.  Debris has been cleaned up, but the harbor is sill empty and large open areas with puddles illustrate the former locations of buildings.  The photo reminds us of the extent of the damage and of the efforts it took to rebuild downtown Kodiak just 46 years ago.

Workman Collection Catalog

Digital Photographs

Digital photographs are a growing part of the museum's photographic holdings. At present there are roughly 8,000 cataloged images in our holdings, though thousands more remain to be inventoried.  These collections include photos of the modern Alutiiq world, heritage research projects, and of the museum's work.  They also hold digital scans of historic collections.  Family photos, the collections of missionaries, and electronic copies of some of our physical photograph collections are among the digital photographs in our care.

Spotlight Collections


Chadwick Collection

Orphaned at age 5, Robert Chadwick grew up in a VFW home in Michigan.  After earning a Bachelors degree from Tennessee Temple University, a bible college, Chadwick accepted a missionary assignment in Afognak Village.  He was 24.  From 1959 to 1963, he lived in Afognak – serving the Alutiiq families in his congregation.  An avid outdoorsman, Chadwick enjoyed life in rural Alaska, and participated in hunting, fishing, and guiding.  This gave him many opportunities to photograph village life. In 2005, he gave 219 digital scans of his slides to the Alutiiq Museum.

Chadwick’s pictures are unusual for several reasons.  First, they were taken with Kodak color slide film.  Many images of Alutiiq communities from this era are in black and white.  Second, the pictures show Afognak in its final years - before the 1964 tsunami engulfed the village and forced residents to move elsewhere.  Chadwick recorded life in Afogank as those who last lived there remember it.

Christensen Collection

Christensen Collection

Clyda Norrell Christensen knows a lot about Alutiiq history.  This 90 year-old Alutiiq Elder, raised in Karluk and now living in Larsen Bay, is a rich store of Alutiiq knowledge.  As a young woman, she trained as a midwife, learning the art of delivering babies, caring for mothers, and healing the sick.  She also speaks and teaches the Alutiiq language, has many wonderful stories about Alutiq traditions, and was once an avid artifact collector.

In February 2010, Clyda shared some of her connections to Alutiiq history with the Alutiiq Museum, donating digital copies of family photographs and her artifact collection for safe keeping. Clyda's photographs provide an intimate portrait of Karluk in the 1950s and 1960s.  There are 392 color images in the set, most of social events.  Family gatherings, parties, events, and holidays are the subject of many photos, although there are also some scenic shots of the village.  Babies, birthdays and weddings are recorded along with staring and masking celebrations.  Koniag, Inc. staff members visiting Larsen Bay scanned the photos a few years ago, and showed copies to the museum.  The museum then ask Clyda's for permission to preserve the images for future generations, a gift to which she kindly agreed.