At their May 7th meeting, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly voted to donate nine collections of artifacts to the Alutiiq Museum. The objects, mostly stone tools documenting Native history, came from borough lands on the coasts of Afognak Island, Chiniak Bay, Womens Bay, and Woody Island. They were recovered during archaeological research, and have been on long-term loan to the museum. The museum requested the donation to create efficiencies in the care and management of its holdings.
According Patrick Saltonstall, a member of the museum’s staff and an archaeologist who helped to build several of the collections, “It was time to renew the loan paperwork. We asked the borough to donate the items so we no longer had to request permission for people to study, photograph, or publish them, a process that takes the time of both our staff and the borough’s staff.”
Frank Peterson, a borough assembly member and the Director of Operations at the Alutiiq Museum, applauded the donation. “I’m very pleased that the assembly granted the museum’s request. The donation permanently transfers the care of Alutiiq objects to the Alutiiq people, where they belong. It’s also a nod to the museum’s professionalism. The museum has been caring for artifacts for twenty years now and is nationally accredited,” he said. “The borough demonstrated its respect for the museum’s work with this gift. It’s a great 20th birthday present.”
Saltonstall agreed. “Researchers will be learning from these collections for generations to come, and they are priceless to the Alutiiq people. It’s very satisfying that they have a permanent home.”
The Kodiak Island Borough will continue to be credited when the museum shares objects from the collections with the public.
The Alutiiq Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Alutiiq, an Alaska Native tribal people. Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships, grants, contracts, and sales.