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Gold, ice and a pirate hunt

A day at the museums

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2000

Fact and whimsy meet this weekend as five cultural institutions pool their resources to celebrate International Museum Day.

Three local museums along with the House of Wickersham and St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church will launch new exhibits, offer presentations and open their doors, free of charge, this Sunday.

A fictitious pirate and his treasure will also be found during Museum Day's community treasure hunt for Purplebeard, the benevolent pirate.

``This is our appreciation day for the community and a special preview of this summer's exhibits,'' said the Alaska State Museum's Lisa Golisek, who coordinated the event with the other local institutions. ``It's a great family day, perfect for Mother's Day.''

In honor of International Museum Day, the Alaska State Museum will launch two new shows. The main exhibit, ``Looking Forward, Looking Back: The Alaska State Museum Centennial Exhibition'' explores the museum's evolution.

``It's a unique opportunity for a museum to look at its own development and history,'' said Steve Henrikson, curator of collections at the museum. ``It's interesting to see how much has developed in the past 100 years.''

Activities for International Museum Day

Sunday, May 14

Alaska State Museum

953 Whittier Street

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New exhibits: ``Looking Forward, Looking Back: The Alaska State Museum Centennial Exhibition'' and ``Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples (1887-1902).''

Special Event: Steve Henrikson, Curator of Collections, will offer half-hour tours of the centennial exhibit from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

114 West 4th Street

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New exhibit: ``Juneau Through the Stereoscope: The Magic of 3-D Photography, 1881 to Present.''

Special Event: Guest curators Ron Klein and Richard Wood will present introductions to the new display every half hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon. Cake will be cut at 11:30 a.m.

The House of Wickersham

213 Seventh Street

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special Event: Guests Renee Guerin and Amy Lou Barney share stories of Juneau personality Ruth Allman from 2 to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Last Chance Mining Museum

1001 Basin Road

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special Events: Wally Olson will present ``Tlingit Place Names In and Around Juneau'' at 11 a.m. The Gold Rush Girls from Janice Holst's Gold Nugget Review will perform at 3 p.m.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

326 Fifth Street

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special Event: Guided tours are available starting at noon.

Second Annual Community Treasure Hunt in Search of Purplebeard

Marine Park

Hours: Starts at noon

Special Information: This activity is open to children age 4 to 11. Parents need to register participants by 4 p.m. Saturday to participate. To register call Lisa Golisek at 465-2901. There is a $1 fee per child.

Free transportation between museums, historic sites and the treasure hunt will be provided during International Museum Day.

The other exhibit, ``Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples (1897-1902),'' features 100 images from among the 3,000 photographs taken during the Jessup expedition. The five-year expedition focused its attention on whether the first Americans actually crossed over an Arctic ice bridge.

Originally from the American Museum of History in New York, this traveling exhibit examines the goals and practices of early anthropologists along with the lives of northern indigenous people.

The Last Chance Mining Museum offers a look at local history, including new interpretive signs and a presentation on ``Tlingit Place Names In and Around Juneau'' by Wally Olson. The Gold Rush Girls from Janice Holst's Gold Nugget Review will also perform.

Back in town, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum will present the opening of their summer exhibit, ``Juneau Through the Stereoscope: The Magic of 3-D Photography, 1881-2000.''

This hands-on exhibit includes early stereoscope photographs and modern 3-D photos of the capital city. It also offers the opportunity to view stereo photographs through a Viewmaster as well as a reproduction of the Holmes stereoscope, one of the older ways of viewing 3-D photography.

``There are lots of hands-on activities designed for everyone in the family, and it will be fun to look at photographs from 1881 compared to today's 3-D images,'' said Jane Lindsey of the city museum.

For a look into the genteel aspect of pioneer life in the area, the House of Wickersham will be open for tours. Local residents Amy Lou Barney and Renee Guerin will share their stories of Ruth Allman, the niece of Grace Wickersham who created the museum.

``She was like the Martha Stewart of Alaskan living. She would talk people through the collection and serve tea,'' said Guerin, a former Broadway singer and actress.

``This house offers gracious trips through Alaska's history,'' she added.

Along with the other activities in town, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church will be open to the public and provide tours of the historical building.

For the younger set, the hunt for the fictitious Purplebeard and his stash of gold may be one of the highlights of the day.

``We divide 100 children into groups of 10 and send them out looking for portions of a treasure map. Then all the groups put the map together and find Purplebeard and his treasure,'' said Golisek of the state museum.

The second annual community treasure hunt, which takes place downtown, is open to children ages 4 to 11. Parents need to register participants with Golisek, at 465-2901, by 4 p.m. Saturday. There is a $1 fee per child to participate in this activity.

``It's great fun,'' said Jeff Brown, one of the creators of the treasure hunt, sponsored by the Downtown Business Associations.

``Purplebeard was more of a clown than a pirate. He traveled throughout Southeast making villages laugh and he amassed a huge fortune,'' Brown joked.

In addition to the free activities, International Museum Day sponsors will provide free shuttle service between event locations.



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