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City museum to present 'President Harding's Visit to Alaska' Saturday

Posted: November 10, 2011 - 12:02am

Local historian Jim Geraghty will present “President Harding’s visit to Alaska” on Saturday, Nov. 12, as part of the Coffee & Collections Series at Juneau-Douglas City Museum. The presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m.

In 1923, Warren Harding became the first president to visit Alaska. Traveling with his wife, Florence, the 29th American president referred to the trip as his “voyage of understanding”. At a time when the population was scarce on the west side of the Mississippi, Harding became the first president to take interest in the resources Alaska had to offer.

Geraghty will give a detailed account of the President’s visit to the territory of Alaska and what Harding had hoped to achieve by taking the presidency on the road. A passionate historian, Geraghty explains how he not only stumbled upon the topic, but also became a leading authority on the impact of President Harding’s historic visit to Alaska.

“I was first made aware of President Harding’s 1923 ‘Voyage of Understanding’ when I was doing research on the Mendenhall Glacier area,” Geraghty said in a press release.

After seeing a photograph of the president standing near Mendenhall Falls, Geraghty decided to look for more photos of Harding’s trip to Alaska and soon had a collection of images he had purchased and donated to the Alaska State Historical Library. This past year, the ASHL received a call from the University of Ohio asking if someone would be willing to travel to Harding’s hometown of Marion, Ohio, to speak on the former president’s visit to Alaska. Geraghty seemed the perfect choice. In July 2011, Geraghty traveled to Ohio to present at the Warren G. Harding Symposium at the University of Ohio at Marion.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at Fourth and Main Streets across from the Capitol. The museum is currently on winter hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free during the month of November thanks to Don and Alma Harris.

For more information, contact the museum at 586-3572 or visit http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/museum/public-programs.php

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