We're rebuilding the old-style windows at the Japonski Island Boathouse this month, and on Saturday, August 30, we'd love help from any and all volunteers. Come for a little or come for a lot. We promise you'll leave with a satisfied ahhhh feeling that comes from doing something to enhance your community.
A big dose of gratitude and applause goes out to the volunteers who have pitched in so far, and also to DNR's Historic Preservation Office for support through the Historic Preservation Fund.
~ We hope you come by the boathouse on Saturday ~
You'll be glad you did!
*** Recent SMHS Events and News ***
We had fun early August at our Seafood Fest Booth!
Featuring a Hands-on Wooden Boat Plank Caulking Demo
Fourth of July Cruise and Beach Picnic!
The Sitka Maritime Heritage Society had a blast on its summer fundraiser this year. We enjoyed a Wildlife Cruise around St. Lazaria Island with a naturalist guide, followed by a Kruzof Island Beach Picnic, on the 4th of July!
SMHS Gets 2014 Historic Preservation Grant!
We have received a Historic Preservation Grant via Alaska's DNR Office of History and Archaeology, for work on the boathouse this summer! The funding gives us a leg up on making the boathouse a working maritime heritage center. We will be rebuilding historic doors and windows, with workshops to train volunteers in these skills. We'll also be installing electric power and lights to the southwest shop wing. These grants require matching, in the form of volunteer hours - that's you! We'll have everything from mindless but oh-so-satisfying cleaning, to training in the skills of rebuilding traditional wood windows. Stay tuned for work party times and dates!
These events have already passed, but here's a taste of what kinds of programs we like to present:
See Actual Footage of the 1964 Earthquake
Hear From the People Who Experienced It
Tell Us Your Stories
First, we'll show you chilling film footage of the 1964 Earthquake event, captured by a person on the ship at the Valdez dock. We will be screening this segment, and additional relevant excerpts from the Valdez film "Between the Glacier and the Sea," from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.
At 7 p.m. we'll give a brief overview of the earthquake and its impact in Alaska, and then we'll introduce several Sitkans who will tell us what they experienced. Then audience members will have a chance to share experiences from that time of turmoil.
Speakers (so far) include:
Bob Allen, who was running the crab fishing boat Fern when the earthquake and tsunami hit. He and his crew picked up dozens of survivors from the villages of Kaguyak and Old Harbor, and went back to Bob’s home port, Kodiak, where they discovered the waterfront had been completely destroyed.
Bill Davis, who was chairman of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group when the call went out for volunteers; he was in charge of the civilian rescue effort in Anchorage.
Willis Osbakken, who was in Sitka, working for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey when the earthquake and tsunami hit, and will tell us what happened here—the impact, how Sitkans responded, the actual readings taken here, and why the damage wasn't more extensive.
And Larry Calvin who was in Sitka, working as a "boom man" at the Alaska Lumber and Pulp Mill, breaking down log bundles into rafts to be fed into the mill. He was on the water, surrounded by giant logs when the waves hit, and he narrowly missed being injured.
First-hand stories about the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America! Be sure to mark your calendar! Thursday, March 27th, 6:30 p.m., at Centennial!
2014 Annual Meeting ~ A Great Success!
Heartfelt thanks to all who made the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society 2014 Annual Meeting a great success. What an interesting and delightful evening it turned out to be!
The topic was Harvesting and Sharing Foods from Our Waters and Shores, and our panelists John and Roby Littlefield, Steve Johnson, Kellan Shoemaker, Florence Welsh, and Peter Williams gave us a gift in sharing their articulate and surprising stories about their experiences out harvesting wild ocean foods.
We're grateful also to the audience members who joined in to offer their tales about engaging in one of Sitka’s most treasured family traditions. We appreciate the drama, insights and laughs you all provided! Accolades to our moderator, Eric Jordan, for his knack for helping create this unique evening of “community conversation,” to Sitka Tribe Enterprises, for renting us such a beautiful space, Sheetka Kwaan Naa Kahidi, and also to Kitty Wilson-Sopow for being the superhero volunteer that she was! And finally, lots of angel points to those who brought goodies to eat (such tasty and varied foods!). During the brief business part of the meeting we thank our members who filled out their ballots to vote in board members, Rebecca Poulson, Mike Litman, Joe D’Arienzo, John Dunlap, Brinnen Carter and Hayley Chambers.
Here's some News Heralding the New Year ...
Welcome Carole Gibb, Our New Director
Say hello to Carole Gibb, Sitka Maritime's new Executive Director who will continue leading the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society in our twin efforts of programming, and rehabilitating the Japonski Island Boathouse into a working maritime heritage center.
Formerly of Pelican and Juneau, Carole has worked in commercial fishing, grant-writing, property development, marketing and program planning. She has a love of oral history, especially on maritime topics, and authored a book, Fishing for Courage, featuring true stories from her salty island-dwelling neighbors.
An eclectic background can be a liability when applying for some jobs, but not this one, Carole explains, “My resume makes me look a bit crazy elsewhere, but in Alaska, and for this organization specifically, my background is a good fit.”
Carole added that she feels lucky to have a strong Board of Directors, and happily, it is getting even stronger. The Society has added Brinnen Carter to its board roster. Brinnen is the Chief of Resources at the Sitka National Historical Park. He brings to the group his experience with Historic Structures and Cultural Landscapes, and his personal interest in boatbuilding. “Plus, he has experience leading restoration of historic windows,” Gibb said, “which will come in handy at our workshops this summer.”
Our maritime heritage, Gibb says, unifies us. “Going back, it doesn’t matter what era you look at, or ethnicity, there’s one heritage we can all claim as Sitkans, and celebrate. Simply put, it’s about love of being on the water.”
Looking ahead, the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society wishes to preserve and cultivate this rich way of life, she said. “So our next generation and generations after that can experience it too.”
Did you know you can share your PFD with the SMHS? When you apply for your PFD, simply participate in the Pick Click Give program. It's easy, it feels good.
Last year over $1,500.00 was given to SMHS! Wow!
WORK PARTY Photos
The October 5th work party was the best one of the season! SMHS board members and staff worked alongside a group of AMAZING volunteers to remove outdated and defunct electrical conduit and air ducting from the workshop side of the boat house, while others focused on pressure washing a few decade's worth of detritus from the walls and rafters of the railways.
A phenomenal amount of progress was made towards our goal of creating a usable space, and James Poulson was on hand to document some of it. Please enjoy his photos by clicking HERE.
Your support helps with boathouse renovations, educational workshops and outreach. Use the button below to give at your personal comfort level through our secure Paypal account, or CLICK HERE to become a member.
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