Alaskan Art Dolls to be topic of museum lecture

Posted: Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alaskan Art Dolls will be the focus of a free lunch-hour lecture Wednesday, March 17, at the Alaska State Museum. Internationally recognized doll artist Mary Ellen Frank will present the talk, which begins at noon, and examples of Alaskan dolls will be on view.

Frank was introduced to the art of doll-making in 1988, when she took a class from Inupiaq doll maker Dolly Spencer at the Alaska State Museum. Over the years she has completed more than 100 dolls of her own, many of which are portraits of actual people. She leads classes at the University of Alaska Southeast, and is curating a new museum in Juneau housing the doll collection of the late Claudia Kelsey.

Many of Frank's dolls are inspired and influenced by the collections of the Alaska State Museum and Alaska State Library. She makes detailed notes from artifacts and historical photos to help recreate traditional clothing, tools, and activities in miniature. The presentation will provide an introduction to portrait dolls and the doll-making process.

The brown-bag lecture series takes place every Wednesday, from noon to 1 p.m., through March 31. It is sponsored by the State Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums. The series features recent research on the museum and library collections by staff and visiting scholars.

Future brown bag lecture topics scheduled are:

March 24: Anastasia Tarmann, Alaska State Library Historical Collections, discusses "The Men Behind the Masks: Letters of Alaska Native Mask Carvers from the Donald Burrus Collection"

March 31: Ellen Carrlee, Conservator, Alaska State Museums, on "Fur, Fuzz, and Fibers: Materials ID at the Museum."

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