City Museum's new show asks community to answer 'What does it mean to be in this place?'

'Recent Acquisitions '06-08' exhibit opens tonight; Harbanuk to hold book signing

Posted: Friday, January 02, 2009

In its "Recent Acquisitions '06-08" in January, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum hopes to inspire thought and discussion with the question, "What does it mean to be in this place?"

The museum will have an opening reception from 4:30 to 7:30 tonight. In addition to the opening, Sandy Harbanuk will be available for a book signing of her recent publication, "Running Toward the Fires: The First 101 Years of the Juneau Volunteer Fire Department."

Harbanuk's publication was supported in part by a Juneau History grant and is a thorough history of Juneau's volunteer fire department and some of the area's most notable fires.

The museum Gift Shop also will extend its end-of-season sale through today, so stop in and peruse books by local authors, handmade jewelry, vintage buttons and old-fashion toys.

Admission was free during December, thanks to Robert and Michelle Storer, and is free in January, thanks to an anonymous friend of the museum and the Pioneer Book Committee.

According to Curator of Collections and Exhibits Addison Field, the objects selected for the "Recent Acquisitions '06-08" exhibit "are not the 'best' nor the 'most interesting,' rather they were chosen for exhibit because they represent a broad overview of the materials that have been put into the City's collection, (between 2006 and 2008) and in some small way each and every piece represents the best of who we are as a community and as individuals."

Some of the objects selected to be on display include recent artworks by local artists; a selection of Dale De Armond's wood engraving blocks; two works by Rie Muñoz; selected photographs from various collections, including Caroline Jensen, Willette Janes and Robert Freeman; a parade costume from the Juneau Filipino Community; a stone lithograph by Bill Ray; a U.S. Army Iraq war uniform and fragments from of the transmission line and towers destroyed in the Snettisham avalanche.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum invites the community to share their own answer to the question "What does it mean to be in this place?" Cards will be available at the front desk for people to write their answers throughout the month of January or submit your answer online at

The information gathered during this survey will be used to chart development of the Museum's permanent exhibits over the next decade.

"Within this museum, as within the Juneau gold belt, we have a rich history in which various individuals and groups have shaped a unified story," Field said. "It is such a big story that it can be tricky to tell, and that is why we need our community's input!"

Composed entirely of materials collected in 2006, 2007 and 2008, this exhibit is a representation of more than 150 new collections including more than 2,000 individual items. Some of the objects on display have been transferred from other organizations or purchased through the Museum's acquisition fund, however, the vast majority are items that have been graciously donated by the community. The museum greatly appreciates these donations and continued support.

For more information, visit or call 586-3572.

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