25 Years Since the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The tragic collision of the tanker Exxon Valdez on March 24, 1989 resulted in the spillage of 11 million gallons of crude oil – approximately, depending on whom you ask – into Prince William Sound, endangering Alaska’s ecosystem for years to come. The silver lining to this dark cloud is that the spill brought to light the need for extreme changes to all aspects of oil transportation, from technology to methodology to organizational structure. Today, with the help of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (RCAC) and legislation regarding oil handling, the Sound is one of the world’s most protected environments.
Looking back on twenty-five years of positive changes to safe oil transportation and citizen oversight, the museum plans to address the anniversary through its public programs and educational outreach. On March 4, from 7 to 8 PM, the Valdez Museum will host a presentation by RCAC presenting an update to the continuing story of the oil spill, and on the future of the oil industry’s relationship to the environment. Focusing on the role of RCAC and on the quarter-century of evolving practices in oil handling, the program is being coordinated by RCAC Outreach Coordinator, Lisa Matlock, and the Valdez Museum’s Curator of Education and Public Programming, Faith Revell. Revell is working with the Valdez High School and RCAC to bring the presentation to the high school classrooms as well.
The museum is also in discussion with RCAC about integrating the many oral histories collected by RCAC relating to the oil spill into the museum’s new web site, where they will be available to researchers and other web site visitors. The museum updated its own permanent exhibit about the spill in 2010.