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MollySmMolly Odell


Eagle River, Alaska is Molly Odell's home these day. It's a centrally located spot. From here she travels across the state, working as a professional archaeologist. But Molly got her start on Kodiak Island, where Alutiiq prehistory sparked her imagination. A few weeks ago, Molly made a generous donation to the Alutiiq Museum. It arrived quietly, through the online donations page of our website. We were moved by her gift and asked Molly to share what the museum means to her. For Molly, the chance to participate in archaeology as a teenager was a critical step toward her career.

"In Chiniak, where I grew up, there was a large excavation led by a Ph.D. student from Harvard University at an ancient Alutiiq site near my house. The friendly archaeologists allowed my sister and I to hang out at the site, ask questions, and even play in the back dirt. I was fascinated by the tiny bone needles, stone tools, and fire pits that Alutiiq people made thousands of years ago. And I loved playing in the dirt."

"I have wanted to be an archaeologist for nearly as long as I can remember. Just after I graduated from Kodiak High School on 2002, I started my first job as an archaeologist. I was a student intern with the Alutiiq Museum's Community Archaeology program at the Zaimka Mound site on Cliff Point."

Fueled by her hands-on experiences with archaeology, Molly followed her interest in the past at college.

"Community Archaeology was a perfect segway for me to leave behind my general education from high school and get a head start on my future career. My experience confirmed what I already knew: archaeology is the perfect combination of history, culture, science, dirt, teamwork, and camaraderie . . During the following summers of college, the Alutiiq Museum staff were incredibly helpful introducing me to other archaeologists in Alaska and connecting me with exciting opportunities. Since I finished my first summer of community archaeology, my archaeological adventures have taken me from the Aleutians to the Arctic Circle and even to Iceland and the Russian Far East in everything from float planes and helicopters to ships and kayaks."

Molly continued her education at the University of Washington, where she is currently earning a Ph.D. focused on ancient Alutiiq history. And she has come back to Kodiak to provide expert assistance to the program that helped to launch her professional life.

"I was back in Kodiak helping direct Community Archaeology for three summers between 2010 and 2012 and it was fantastic to help other students and volunteers learn about archaeology and Alutiiq history. If you are at Community Archaeologist this summer, perhaps you will see me, too. I hope to visit for a few days, as a volunteer this time."

TWO JOURNEYS : AN EXHIBITION GUIDE

ImageExhibition Guide Chronicles Exploration
Museum collections are time capsules; rare windows into the past.  Collectors recognize the value of the artifacts they preserve, but they can never fully understand how these objects will benefit the future.  Collecting is both an act of scholarship and of unforeseeable generosity.  This is a message that shines through Two Journeys : A Companion to the Giinaquq – Like A Face Exhibition.

This 92 page hardback volume features stunning photographs of the thirty-five artifacts in the Giinaquq show, but it is much more than a catalog of pretty pictures.  Woven through the illustrations are stories of exploration – the history of Alphonse Pinart’s life and Alaskan travels, a moving description of the journeys Alutiiq artists have undertaken to rediscover their ancestor’s work, and a summary of patient efforts to share the collection in an Alaskan exhibition.  The title of the volume refers to these journeys – Pinart’s 1871 trip to Alaska and the 2005 trip of Alutiiq artists to France.

Pinart’s gift to the Alutiiq people is clear in the words of artists who visited the masks.  Featured throughout the text they express joy, reverence, and amazement.  To help the exploration of this remarkable collection continue, the book includes artifact photographs from different angles, object dimensions, information on raw materials, and Alutiiq names.  The presentation brings the masks to life, providing a richer sense of the objects and their great value to Alutiiqs today.

Copies of Two Journeys are available through the Alutiiq Museum Store for $29.99.
Puffin2014 
 

DISCOVER KODIAK
PUFFIN AWARD - 2014

Awarded to the Alutiiq Museum for going above and beyond the call of duty in representing Kodiak Island for the year 2014.

 

 


GOVERNOR'S AWARD
FOR THE HUMANITIES - 2012

Dr. Sven Haakanson, Jr., Alutiiq Museum

Executive Director

 

Given annually by Alaska's governor, this award recognizes individuals that  enrich the civic, intellectual, and cultural life of all Alaskans through the wisdom and techniques of the humanities.

 

 

 

 

Sven in Iceland 2012. Photo courtesy Gordon Pullar.


GUARDIANS OF CULTURE & LIFEWAYS LEADERSHIP AWARD - 2012

Awarded to Dr. Sven Haakanson, Jr., Alutiiq Museum Executive Director


Created by the Association of Ttibal Archives Libraries and Museums this annual award identifies and recognizes organizations and individuals who serve as outstanding examples of how indigenous archives, libraries, and museums contribute to the vitality and cultural sovereignty of Native nations.  Haakanson  was selected for his leadership in preserving and giving contemporary meaning to Native history and local legends, rituals, and customs.


NATIONAL MUSEUM ACCREDITATION - 2011


In August of 2011, the Alutiiq Museum earned accreditation from the American Association of Museums.  Accreditation is the highest level of professional certification for a museum in the United States.  It indicates that an institution meets the most rigorous standards of practice in everything it does, from caring for collections to serving the public.  The Alutiiq Museum become the seventh museum in Alaska and only the second tribal museum in the nation to earn this top professional certification.

 

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Giinaquq: Like A Face on display in Kodiak,
photo courtesy Chris Arend

NORTH STAR AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE - 2009
 

Establish by Governor Palin in 2008, the North Star Awards recognize Alaskan organizations that promote positive international relationships around trade, foreign investment, education, tourism, transportation, and cultural, humanitarian, or scientific exchanges. For reuniting Alaskans with an historic collection of Alutiiq masks, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin presented the Alutiiq Museum and Koniag, Inc. with this award at the May 2009 Export Alaska luncheon in Anchorage.

 

"I am especially pleased to honor one of Alaska's 13 Native Corporations, Koniag, Inc. and the  Alutiiq Museum.  They persevered together for years to bring a significant collection of Alutiiq masks to Alaska from France to share with all of us." 

- Governor Sarah Palin


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KODIAK ISLAND CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU PUFFIN AWARD - 2008

Awarded to the Alutiiq Museum for going above and beyond the call of duty in representing Kodiak Island for the year 2008.

"The Alutiiq Museum was selected for the Puffin Award for a variety of reasons.   The masks exhibit was extraordinary and shined a beautiful and bright light on Kodiak that was seen literally across the globe.  It gave visitors something quite spectacular to see while here.  Plus, the museum is always ready and willing to serve guests to the island and share our rich cultural heritage.  The Alutiiq Museum allows people to dig deeper into our island, to see beyond the beautiful scenery and commercial fishing industry."  

- Jan Buckingham, KICVB



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MUSEUMS ALASKA AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE - 2008

Awarded to Sven Haakanson, Jr. and the Alutiiq Museum for the exhibition Giinaquq : Like a Face

In September of 2008, the Alutiiq Museum's exhibition of 19th century masks from the Pinart Collection of the Château-Musée, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France was recognized as an outstanding project by Museums Alaska, a statewide professional organization.  The award was given to Haakanson at the association's annual conference in Anchorage.



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ADMINISTRATION FOR NATIVE AMERICANS
COMMISSIONER'S AWARD – 2008

Awarded to the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation for the Qik’rtarmiut Alutiit Language Revitalization Program, April Laktonen Counceller project manager.
 

In Spetember of 2008, the Qik'rtarmiut Alutiit Language Project was recognized as an "Exceptional Project" by the Administration for Native Americans. Only 3 projects in Alaska and 12 nationwide received this honor.   Recognition was given to projects in Social and Economic Development, Healthy Marriage, and Language Preservation. The museum's Master-Apprentice language revitalization project was one of 3 project recognized in the language category.
 


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RASMUSON FOUNDATION $1,000,000 AWARD – 2007

The holidays came a little early in 2007, and with great generosity.  On a routine phone call to the Rasmuson Foundation, Alutiiq Museum Executive Director Sven Haakanson, Jr. learned the extraordinary.  The foundation was giving the museum a $1,000,000.  The money, an unrestricted gift, created the Alutiiq Museum Venture Fund at the Alaska Community Foundation to be used for special opportunities to strengthen the long-term success of the museum.

When Haakanson shared the news with his hard working staff reactions varied from whoops of joy to tears.  Everyone was elated.  Will Anderson, Chair of the museum’s Board of Director’s, summed up the felling.  "It is amazing how much the museum staff has accomplished in recent years.  Everyone at the museum has worked incredibly hard to make the Alutiiq Museum a meaningful part of the Kodiak community and a truly important institution in the State of Alaska.  I see it as the highest form of recognition when an organization like the Rasmuson Foundation notices the accomplishments of Dr. Haakanson and his staff, and provides an unsolicited award to the museum."

 


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Sven in Washington, DC

 

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIP – 2007

Awarded to Dr. Sven Haakanson, Jr., Alutiiq Museum Executive Director
 

 

In September 2007, Alutiiq Museum Executive Director, Dr. Sven D. Haakanson, Jr., was  chosen to receive a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Haakanson was one of 24 scholars selected nationally for the award, which honors exceptional creativity, a record of significant achievement, and the promise of important future work. The fellowship will provide Haakanson with a five year, $500,000 award.






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HONORING ALASKA'S INDIGENOUS LITERATURE AWARD - 2006

Awarded to April G.L. Counceller (author) for Kodiak Alutiiq Language Conversational Phrasebook with audio CD, published by the Alutiiq Museum, 2005, Jeff Leer (editor).

As the Museum's Alutiiq Language Manager, April Laktonen Counceller has worked tirelessly to document, reawaken, and teach the Alutiiq language.  One of her many contributions  was the development of an Alutiiq Phrase Book and Audio CD.  In 2006, this publication, the basis of Counceller's Masters Thesis, was honored with a HAIL Award.  The HAIL Awards recognize indigenous Elders, authors, illustrators and others who make significant contributions to the documentation and representation of Native cultural knowledge and traditions. To date Counceller's phrase book is the most comprehensive collection of recorded phrases and conversational Alutiiq made available to the public.





Amy at the Zaimka Mound site                 

MUSEUMS ALASKA CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – 2005


Awarded to Amy Steffian, Alutiiq Museum Deputy Director
 

In September of 2005, Deputy Director Amy Steffian was honored with the Museums Alaska Career Achievement Award in recognition of her work developing the Alutiiq Museum's policies and programs.  Given annually by the state wide professional organization, this award recognizes a sustained contribution to Alaska's Museums.









 


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ALASKA ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
OUTSTANDING CURRENT CONTRIBUTION AWARD - 2004


Awarded to the exhibition Looking Both Ways: The Heritage & Identity of the Alutiiq People, Aron Crowell, Amy Steffian and Gordon Pullar, curators

In the spring of 2004, the Looking Both Ways exhibition, a collaborative project between the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center and the Alutiiq Museum, was recognized as an outstanding current contribution to Alaska Anthropology.  This recognition was given to the exhibit curators for examplary acheivement by the Alaska Anthropological Association, a statewide professional organization.





 


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Alutiiq Word of the Week - Season 1 Booklet
HONORING ALASKA'S INDIGENOUS LITERATURE AWARD – 2003
 

Awarded to Florence Pestrikoff, Mary Haakanson, Sophie Katelnikoff, Jenny Zeeder, and Nick Alokli (eds.) for the Alutiiq Word of the Week, Vol. 1, published by the Alutiiq Museum, 1999.

In 2003, a volume of lessons from the Alutiiq Museum's award winning Alutiiq Word of the Week program was honored with a HAIL Award for helping to preserve and share the Kodiak Alutiiq language.  Elder speakers contributing to the program, were recognized by the honor which lauds indigenous Elders, authors, illustrators and others who make significant contributions to the documentation and representation of Native cultural knowledge and traditions.








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JOAN PATTERSON KERR AWARD – 2002


Awarded to the exhibition catalog Looking Both Ways: The Heritage & Identity of the Alutiiq People , by Aron Crowell, Amy Steffian & Gordon Pullar, editors, University of Alaska Press, publisher.

In the spring of 2002, the Looking Both Ways exhibition catalog was recognized as the year's  best illustated book on the history of the American West.  The award was given to the catatlog editors and the University of Alaska Press by the Western History Association.






 


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Sven Haakanson, Jr. presents Ruth Dawson her Award
MUSEUMS ALASKA VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – 2000

Awarded to Ruth A. Dawson, Alutiiq Heritage Foundation Board Member and former Chair
 

In September of 2000, Ruth Dawson, President of the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation Board of Directors, was named Museums Alaska volunteer of the year at the statewide museums conference held in Ketchikan.  Given annually, this honor recognizes a volunteer who has made an outstanding and lasting contribution to an Alaskan Museum.  Dawson was nominated by the Alutiiq Museum’s staff, who cited her life long devotion to heritage preservation, tireless support of museum programs, and commitment to collaboration and community service in their letter.  She was recognized for both her role as a board member and for her participation in the day-to-day operations of the museum - organizing lavish potlatches, assisting with the museum store, and acting as a spokesperson.  “She has shown all of us that one person can make a tremendous difference,” wrote the staff.
 


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Sven Haakanson, Jr. and Amy Steffian
Receiving the Award from
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House
NATIONAL AWARD FOR MUSEUM SERVICE – 2000

Awarded to the Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository
 

In 2000, the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository received the National Award for Museum Service. Awarded annually to outstanding American museums, this honor is bestowed by the Institute for Museums and Library Services and presented by America's First Lady. This prestigious award is the only national recognition of a museum’s public service role. It is given to organizations that enrich life in their communities through sustained and innovative public service. The Alutiiq Museum was singled out for three of its unique educational programs; Community Archaeology, the Alutiiq Word of the Week and the Rural Schools Art Show.


KODIAK ISLAND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
BEAR CUB AWARD - 1995

Awarded to the Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository

In 1995, the year the Alutiiq Museum opened to the public, our organization won with the Kodiak Island Convention and Visitors Bureau's Bear Cub Award.  The award recognizes a new business that adds significantly to Kodiak's visitor industry.

 

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