Contributed by Selena Ortega-Chiolero
Alaska’s museums and cultural centers serve as community gathering places, institutions for learning, and are strong components of Alaska’s economy and tourism industry. Their purpose is to preserve, protect and promote the histories and cultures of the communities they serve. So why is it that they are often the first industry targeted whenever there is a budget crisis? For the past few years we have seen at the national level, organizations like the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, struggle to defend the work they do so that they can continue receiving financial support. Most recently, in Alaska, we have had our own fight protecting valuable institutions like the Sheldon Jackson Museum from being sold and preserving the financial support for the Alaska State Museum and its integral grant programs.
In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of Alaska museums as centers of education, community anchors, economic engines, employers, and stewards of culture and history, Museums Alaska has developed a week-long celebration where we invite museums, their staff, supporters and fans to join us in speaking up for museums in the state of Alaska by using social media as a tool to activate the public in showing why museums matter. We are encouraging everyone to use this week to demonstrate how museums are more than just buildings but rather, essential institutions whose programs and events extend beyond their walls making long-lasting impacts that help their communities to thrive.
Alaska Museum Week will be held from June 2 -8, 2019, throughout the state. To help support this statewide effort, Museums Alaska has created promotional graphics and materials designed for a variety of social media platforms and have made them freely available on their web-site at: www.museumslaska.org/Alaska-Museum-Week. Among the materials, is a social media plan that includes themes for each day of the week to help everyone highlight different facets of museums and their programming. We hope you will join us in celebrating the good works that museums do and reminding our legislators that #AKmuseumsmatter!
Museums Alaska is the statewide museum association that supports museums and cultural centers in Alaska and enhances public understanding of their value. Initiated in 1977, it continues to dedicate its resources towards maintaining and disseminating information about museums, cultural centers and their activities, and sharing and creating professional opportunities for museum professionals, volunteers and organizations throughout the state.