Historical Society Finances Rebound as Staff Expands


Jay Barrett/KMXT

The members of the Kodiak Historical Society gathered for their annual meeting Wednesday night at Kodiak College. The Historical Society operates the Baranov Museum for the City of Kodiak.

Board member Pat Szabo reported the organization’s finances are in good shape, with its endowement rebounding from the stock market crash, going from a low of about $800,000 in 2009 to a current value of $1.2-million.

Executive Director Katie Oliver said the organization was very active in the past year.

She joked to the crowd that with the new windows, occupants of the museum can now observe Kodiak’s severe weather – such as Tuesday’s storm – without experiencing it.

She said working on the museum’s extensive collections will be one of the main areas of activity for the upcoming year.

Oliver added that finding more space to store the ever-growing collection will have to be addressed, and the society is looking at building, acquiring or leasing extra space. She said the inside of the Erskine House, which houses the museum, cannot be altered, so they are looking outward.

Historical Society Board President Nancy Kemp related a story from her childhood, when her grandfather brought an artifact back home from Alaska and it crumbled into pieces within 20 years. She said that illustrated the importance of proper storage of artifacts, which is a major focus of the historical society.

Three directors left the board; they were Mary Monroe, Lynda Ross and Margie Draskovich, while Gil Bane won re-election. Newly elected to the board were Barbara Bolson, Skip Bolton and Theresa Miller.

The museum’s curator of collections, Anjuli Grantham, gave a presentation on beach seining on the south end of Kodiak Island, outlining the conflicts between Native fishermen and Outside fish packers, one of which reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

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