The Alutiiq Museum received a grant of more than $52,000 dollars to engage the public in learning opportunities.
Staff wanted to attract new members to the museum, says gallery manager Dana Haynes, and doing that involved program development.
“We did kind of a lot of experimenting with different types of programs we could put on, different ways of approaching people. A lot of just evaluation and actually getting out there and bringing the museum outside of the museum walls. We had a booth at crab Fest one time and just kind of a lot of interviewing people, and as the result of that we came up with this program called Date Night.”
Date Night was designed to draw curious people in for a night of interactive learning. Haynes says 25 couples signed up for last summer’s kickoff event, which had an Alutiiq-style apocalypse survival theme, and among the activities they did was making ulu knives and preparing salves.
The grant is from the Rasmussen Foundation-funded group EMC Arts in New York City, and Haynes says it means the museum can expand the program and keep it going over two years.
She says it’ll cover not only the cost of running the program, but also the overhead expenses and staff time. For instance, it’ll fund a part time position to provide staff support.
“A lot of times grants will cover just the cost and not really our operation costs, so then it makes it so these extra projects are kind of a burden to put on, but this is really a new model where it’s looking at how to make a project that we can actually incorporate into the museum’s regular life.”
Future Date Night program ideas include cooking traditional foods like perok and leading participants in traditional dances.