Fire History – Interim Exhibit
Date(s) - 02/13/2017 - 03/19/2017
The Valdez Museum on Egan
When a hole in the 2017 exhibit schedule gave way to “down time” in Egan Commons beginning mid-February—a five week stint between “Going with the Flow” and “Spring into Art”—curators Andrew Goldstein and Faith Revell chose rather than fill up the gallery with a short run show, to open it up to new ideas for programming and experimentation.
As a result, the 1907 Ahrens Continental Steamer Fire Engine Number 131 temporarily sits front and center in the commons for visitors to see and former Chief of the Fire Department Tom McAlister to talk about. McAlister will describe the restoration and transformation of the engine into its beautiful gilded rich red form on February 17th and share the gist of how the steamer works. What a fascinating machine! On the 21st, Tuesday Nite History Talks will resume with stories of powerful blazes and fire fighting in Old Town Valdez’ early history. For about a week, museum staff and viewers will continue to “see red” keeping the steamer on display along with firefighting museum collections. This is a great time to visit the museum, whether as a firefighter, history buff or student with classmates on a field trip.
At the conclusion of “fire season”, the VMHA will first offer two full days of art classes in preparation for the annual student art show and then set up different stations throughout the space where you can learn the art of weaving. Currently the VMHA hosts “Weg’et, Grass and Plant Fibers,” a Chugachmiut heritage kit on loan and exhibited in the nearby Native Gallery. Lessons on basket making and basic weaving comprise a portion of the kit curriculum.
4th grade social studies students and their teachers will explore the museum during this “open” period, too, studying two masks on display in the Native Gallery, Ancient Messenger, made by Alutiiq carver Andrew Abyo and Chenega Mourning, created by Port Graham artist of Yup’ik and Alutiiq descent, Jim Miller. Artist Abyo finds inspiration in creating work that ensures that Alutiiq culture continues to survive in the modern age. Miller carved his mask to honor the twenty-six AK Natives who perished in Chenega in the wake of the devastating tsunami born out in the 1964 Earthquake. Visiting students will craft and decorate their own masks inspired by the work of these AK Native artists.
As the year unfolds new ideas will surface for programs and ways to bring the visiting public and Valdez community into a dialogue about local and regional history, culture and heritage. You are invited to be a part of this conversation and always welcome at the museum. Consider becoming a member this year. Volunteer. Contact us. 835-2764 or firstname.lastname@example.org