Senator Murkowski Receives Museum Award

Senator Murkowski Receives Museum Award


For Immediate Release

End: February 28, 2018

Valdez Museum & Historical Archive & Juneau-Douglas City Museum to Join Hundreds of Museum professionals for Congressional award to Senator Lisa Murkowski in Washington, DC

In February, Michelle Cullen & Patricia Relay from the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive, and Jane Lindsey from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum will travel to Washington, D.C. to join hundreds of museum professionals from across the country for Museums Advocacy Day, hosted by the American Alliance for Museums, February 27 & 28, 2018. The purpose of the visit is to share the important work that museums do with their legislators.

Each year, Museums Advocacy Day honors legislators who have demonstrated exemplary support for the nation’s museums. After reviewing many excellent nominations, the Alliance has announced Senator Lisa Murkowski and Representative Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon will receive this year’s congressional award.

Senator Murkowski has used her key position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to advocate for funding for the Institute of Museums and Library Services, the National Endowment for Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also an original cosponsor of the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017, legislation that would reauthorize the agency.  Not only does Senator Murkowski carry the heavy load of advocating on issues related to energy, health care, education, military/veterans’ affairs, and infrastructure development;  she has demonstrated leadership in support of the arts and humanities and believes in the benefits they offer Alaskan communities. From 2014 to 2016, Alaskan cultural institutions and museums have received an aggregate of $8.2 million from these grant programs.

Joined by over 300 museum leaders and professionals from across the country, Cullen, Relay, and Lindsey are proud to be returning to Advocacy Day for their fifth year of work to witness this well-deserved award to Senator Murkowski on behalf of all Alaskans. At the culmination of last year’s Museums Advocacy Day visit, all Alaskan legislators had joined in support of continued funding for these important federal grant programs and agencies.

In Alaska we have over 50 museums, cultural centers, and historic houses that preserve and exhibit our history. Rooted in their communities, they are anchor institutions that deliver education services, research opportunities, exhibit local art and culture; provide public programs, and generate revenue through cultural tourism.  From 2014 to 2016, Alaskan cultural institutions and museums have received an aggregate of $8.2 million from these grant programs.

Alaska’s cultural affiliations and geographic distances are immense.  Federally supported grants are vital to our cultural organizations, especially in remote communities such as Valdez.  Valdez, population 3800 has one venue in which artists can exhibit their work. It is only through the Alaska State Council on the Arts Community Arts Development Grant, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, that the Valdez Museum can provide a venue for local and regional artists.

The Western States Arts Federation has ranked Juneau, population 32,000, 6th out of 933 by communities nationwide for overall creative vitality.  From 2012-2016, Juneau received over $790,000 in National Endowment for the Humanities grants.

The recent publication by the American Alliance of Museums Museums as Economic Engines: A National Report, is an unprecedented economic study to quantify the economic value and impact of museums nationwide.  Researched and prepared in partnership with Oxford Economics with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this comprehensive report outlines the economic benefit of museums, including jobs, direct spending, and supply-chain effects. Museums support their communities, and create jobs and wages that are vital to the health of their hometowns.

Relay stated, “Gathering in Washington DC each year with museum professionals to advocate for the field has been such a wonderful and beneficial experience. The fact that our little delegation travels so far to make a case for the important work that museums do in Alaska highlights our dedication to the field. It has been a pleasure to meet with Senator Murkowski and I am so thankful for Senator Murkowski’s recognition of this effort and her willingness to support the arts and humanities in the great state of Alaska.”

Michele Cullen has served as the Board President for the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive for four years.  She began her service to the Valdez Museum in 2009 as a seasonal Summer Education Curator and in 2012 she joined the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive on the Board of Directors.  Cullen works for Prince William Sound Community College as an adjunct professor of Astronomy.

Jane Lindsey became the Director of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum in 2004.  She holds an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in painting and drawing, and is a graduate of the American Association of State and Local History Seminar for Historic Administration. Ms. Lindsey has served on the American Association of State and Local History board and as Advocacy Chair on the Museums Alaska board. She sees daily the benefits of art and history in community health and literacy. 

Patricia Relay became the Executive Director of the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive in 2010.  Ms. Relay and her family moved to Valdez, Alaska from Bellingham, Washington, where she was not only a museum professional but a business owner, an educator, a volunteer, a wife and mother.  With a Bachelor of Arts in Art History (2001) from Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration (2008) from Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland, Ms. Relay has over 18 years of experience working in Museums.

About the Valdez Museum:

The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive is an active place. We bring the stories of our community’s history alive through our programs and activities.

For more information please visit our website at or on Facebook and Twitter

About the Juneau-Douglas City Museum:

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum fosters among its diverse audiences, an awareness of Juneau’s cultural heritage, values and community memory so we may draw strength and perspective from the past, inspire learning, and find purpose for the future.

Contact:  Jane Lindsey Director                                 Patricia Relay, Director

                   Juneau-Douglas City Museum                 Valdez Museum & Archive


                   (907) 586-0968                                                (907) 835-2764