Nurses from Juneau's past: Gone but not forgotten

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In observance of Women's History Month, the Alaska State Museum, the Gastineau Channel Historical Society and The Friends of the Alaska State Museum will host a presentation on women nurses from Juneau's past. This free program will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Alaska State Museum.

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Presenters Nina Brown, Willie Larsen and Elfrida Nord will tell stories about nurses Mae Godkin, Rose Schneider, Lola Walther, and Kitty Gair as well as share images and discuss the facilities and organizations the nurses worked for including St. Ann's Hospital, the Government Hospital and the M/V Hygiene. Marie Darlin, program organizer, encourages the community to share their stories about nurses and public health associated with Juneau's past during this presentation.

Mae Isabell (Cashen) Godkin (1902-1992), a former nurse at St. Ann's Hospital in Juneau, will be featured in the presentation. Godkin and her sister were the first set of twins born in the mining community of Douglas. She remained a lifelong resident of Douglas and Juneau. As a teenager, Godkin assisted the nuns at St. Ann's Hospital during the great influenza pandemic of 1918. She went on to enroll in nurse's training at St. Joseph's School of Nursing in Victoria, B.C. After she graduated in 1923, Godkin returned to Alaska to work at St. Ann's and live in Douglas. For many years, she took the ferry between Douglas and Juneau to get to work each day.

Hours at the museum are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. General admission is $3. Visitors 18 and under are admitted free of charge. An annual pass that allows unlimited visits to the Alaska State Museum and the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka is available for $15.

Assistance is available for visitors with special needs. Please contact visitor services at 465-2901 before the visit.

• Lisa Golisek is the Museum Visitor Services coordinator at the Alaska State Museum.

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