In ceremony, Alutiiq Museum gifted Alutiiq Center building

The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository has received ownership of the Alutiiq Center building from two Kodiak Native corporations. With an $8 million dollar grant from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to remodel the building, transferring ownership to the museum was the logical next step, those involved with the deal said this week.

In a signing ceremony Wednesday, the Native corporations Koniag Incorporated and the health nonprofit Kodiak Area Native Association donated their space in the Alutiiq Center building to the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation- the governing board of the museum. The museum operates a portion of the first floor, including a two-room gallery and a laboratory. The ceremony opened with a lamp lighting, and was followed up by the Lord’s Prayer in Alutiiq.

The museum’s executive director, April Laktonen Counceller, says space has been an issue.

“Over the years, as our staff has grown, and our collections have more than doubled, and more and more people have learned about our organization… There’s been a greater demand on our services, and a demand for more space in the facility to conduct the various activities that we run through the museum. We have a lot of exhibits. But we also have cultural programs, workshops, we create publications, there’s a whole lot of activity that happens behind the scenes, and with elders and young people,” Counceller said.

She says that the museum is weighing what changes it’s going to make, but they already have some ideas.

“We’re going to have more exhibits, so people will have the opportunity to learn more in the gallery. But we’re also going to be adding additional public space on the first floor for traditional ecological knowledge, classroom and workshop space. And also to expand the Alutiiq museums store, which is a really important outlet for local artists including Alutiiq artists who reside in the villages, and elsewhere in Alaska,” Counceller said.

Koniag, Inc. said in a statement that it had purchased the basement and second floor of the building from Natives of Kodiak for a total of $1.8 million, and then donated those acquisitions to the museum. The health nonprofit KANA simultaneously donated the first floor to the museum, valued at $1.1 million.

The deal closed on Tuesday, according to a joint statement.

Renovations are expected to be completed by 2023.


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