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Whether it’s through hunting, exploring, trekking, or freezing, the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on April 15 will bring history to life during a behind-the-scenes interactive adventure inside the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) building.
Behind the Scenes: a fundraising gala at the APK 040517 AE 1 Mary Lou Gerbi, for the Capital City Weekly Whether it’s through hunting, exploring, trekking, or freezing, the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on April 15 will bring history to life during a behind-the-scenes interactive adventure inside the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) building.

The crowd at the 2016 gala. Photo by MaryLou Gerbi.


Evon Zerbetz, center, speaks with 2016 gala attendees in front of her glass wall in the Alaska State Library. Photo by MaryLou Gerbi.


From left to right, Charles Gerbi, Dick and Sue Deems, and George Reifenstein laugh at last year's museum gala. Photo by MaryLou Gerbi.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Story last updated at 4/3/2017 - 8:11 pm

Behind the Scenes: a fundraising gala at the APK

Whether it’s through hunting, exploring, trekking, or freezing, the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum on April 15 will bring history to life during a behind-the-scenes interactive adventure inside the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) building.

Inside the clan house, weaver Anna Brown Ehlers will discuss and demonstrate the art of weaving Chilkat blankets. On display will be artifacts from the vault, treasures most museum-goers don’t see – a 40-foot walrus-skin umiak deposited inside the APK before the building was completed.

The trek up 35 grated stairs to a catwalk to see how the APK building works will have people feeling like they’re vising the Starship Enterprise. Behind the scenes in the mechanical room, building manager Lisa Golisek and mechanical engineer Aaron Morrison will give a technical talk with a workout. Visitors will explore the APK’s salt water, tide-treated cooling system and energy-efficient building operation. (Don’t wear your spike-heeled Xtratufs to the tech talks.)

Steve Henrikson, curator of collections, has created a historical hunt just for this evening. Participants will discover “salacious information you won’t hear in your average tour of the museum galleries,” chief curator Addison Field said. He would say no more.

In the paper and object conservation labs, dental tools help restore Alaskan historical art, documents and maps. Ellen Carrlee, conservator, and Seth Irwin, paper conservator from Boston, will demonstrate how to rescue Alaska’s irreplaceable history from scotch tape, staples, rust and tears, as related in a recent Juneau Empire article by James Brooks. They’ve restored a map of Alaska that reveals just what the U.S. bought from Russia. This will be a no-needle, no-pain lab visit.

Viistors will also get the chance to explore the archives vault’s document freezers, which help preserve Alaska’s history. In the micrographics area, attendees can play with equipment that digitizes Alaskan history recorded on Betamax, Super 8, and other now antique equipment. Damon Stuebner will show some of the rescued films in the lecture hall.

Upstairs in the information services area, attendees can use 1960s era state seals to emboss tissue or cocktail napkins and impress friends. Information Services head Freya Anderson will discuss the German-made linocuts and glass plates Evon Zerbetz used in creating the whimsical glass wall that divides library research and reading areas. Nearby is the Alaska’s Heart Through Student art exhibit in the display cases.

Karen Gray, acting archivist, will put Alaska history on display upstairs in the display cases. With the help of telegrams, maps, letters and other documents, relive Alaska history like sled dogs racing with diphtheria serum from Seward to Nome, or remember the 1918 sinking of the Princess Sophia and drowning of its 343 passengers at Vanderbilt Reef,

Attendees will also get the chance to enter the Dash for the Stash financial literacy contest and win $1,000 to be deposited into an IRA, sponsored by the Investor Protection Institute.

2016 attendees will find that this year’s gala offers a completely different experience.

The event will have food, a no-host bar, and live music. It runs from 6-9 p.m. April 15 at the APK. Tickets are $100 for Friends members, $125 non-members, and are available at the JACC, Hearthside Books, jahc.org, or foslam.org. Tickets are limited and sold out early in 2016. All proceeds go to fund programs and events at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum.

Mary Lou Gerbi is president of the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum board.