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Director of Kodiak's Alutiiq Museum resigns

Posted: April 8, 2013 - 12:08am

KODIAK — The director of Kodiak’s Alutiiq Museum will leave the job in June.

Sven Haakanson Jr., who in 2007 was picked for a McArthur Foundation “genius award,” told the Kodiak Daily Mirror that he will pursue other opportunities.

“It’s just time to move on,” Haakanson said. “I think that the museum, we’re in a growing stage, and I think it’s a perfect time to move forward. I can’t thank everybody enough about how wonderful it’s been to work here and the things we’ve been able to do.”

Haakanson was hired in 2000, and with the board of directors, set a goal of making Alutiiq as well-known as Cherokee. The museum has accomplished that, he said.

“We’ve been able to raise a real awareness of the Alutiiq culture for everybody on Kodiak Island, basically around the world,” he said. “I feel very good about all of that and moving forward with the next steps in my life and watching the museum grow as well.

Haakanson has overseen development of Alutiiq language programs, publications, cultural programs and new exhibits.

“The biggest accomplishment is raising an awareness of how rich our Alutiiq culture was and now is on the island,” he said. “I feel honored to be a part of the museum where we’ve done international exhibits, publications and raised an awareness and also shown our community how ingenious the people were in the past and again, how creative our people are here on the island today.”

Will Anderson, chairman of the Alutiiq Museum board of directors, said they are reviewing the director’s job description and requirements.

“We haven’t looked at this (job description) for a long time,” Anderson said. “With anything over time, responsibilities morph and change.”

The search to replace Haakanson will begin this week. Local candidates will be considered first.

“I would hope we would find somebody locally,” Anderson said. “That’s always preferable. We don’t know what kind of interest we’ll get.”

Haakanson will work full-time at the museum until June 28 to fulfill obligations such as skin sewing workshops in villages.

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