Kodiak’s Baranov Museum has met their fundraising goal for their permanent exhibits redesign and facility upgrade project.
Sarah Harrington, executive director of the Kodiak Historical Society and Baranov Museum, says the museum was awarded the final grant of $175,000 from the Rasmuson foundation on July 6.
“This project has gone on for about 10 years and has a total cost of about $750,000,” said Harrington. “The $175,000 that we received from Rasmuson is the last piece of the puzzle, so now we have one hundred percent of the funds needed to move forward with the project.”
Harrington says the Rasmuson funds will be used for exhibit fabrication. Other funds will pay to replace flooring and to upgrade plumbing and electrical systems. The overarching theme of the new exhibits is, “Kodiak as an International Crossroads,” says Harrington. She says the goal of updating their exhibits is to ensure that all visitors and residents, including local children, can make a connection with the museum.
“The school district is about sixty percent Asian and Native American students, and our current exhibits do not reflect those stories at all. And so, we’re excited to be able to show them not only that their stories are important, but we want to be able to show them that stories like theirs are valued and that they belong here at the museum,” said Harrington.
The new exhibits will be on the first floor of the building, Harrington says, and will include museum-grade cases to better protect artifacts, improved lighting, and a clearer narrative. In addition, there will be interactive, hands-on and digital features.
In June, the M.J Murdock Charitable Trust awarded the museum a $205,000 grant.
The Baranov is housed in the oldest building in Alaska and the earliest Russian-built structure in America — a national historic landmark known as the Russian American Magazin.
The Baranov Museum estimates that they have over 10,000 visitors a year. The museum is partway to their goal of raising $85,000 through a capital campaign.
Construction of the new exhibits is scheduled to begin in September. The museum plans to close over the fall and winter, reopening in April 2019.