Mark Finfer Honors Brother Paul Finfer, New Town Planner

Mark Finfer Honors Brother Paul Finfer, New Town Planner

Paul Finfer Seated with Brother Mark Standing

Andrew Goldstein, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions at the Valdez Museum was pleasantly surprised when he opened an envelope to find a $7,500 check from Mark Finfer of San Diego, CA with an accompanying letter, personally addressed to Andrew. In the letter Mark stated where his contribution should be directed, “towards continuing the support of the Paul Finfer Collection as part of your museum archives.”

Mark’s brother, Paul Finfer was a key planner for the building of New Valdez from 1964-1967 after the Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the Old Town site. Paul, his wife June and Mark visited Valdez in 2007 where they met with Andrew, who was barely a year into his position at the time. He was struck by Andrew’s appreciation of Paul’s remarkable contributions to the rebuilding of Valdez. Mark wrote, “I was impressed with the respect and high regard shown him for his work so long ago, and do appreciate your own guidance.” In the letter Mark acknowledges his brother Paul’s work, “My brother was a very talented and creative planner, and your city was lucky to have been the recipient of his foresight when you so needed it. Good luck with your expansion efforts . . . and take care of my brother’s legacy.”

The Paul Finfer Collection was donated to the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive (VMHA) by his wife June in 2012, about four years after Paul died. Since then it has become one of the VMHA’s most-used collections due to its extensive content related to the planning and building of New Valdez. It consists of four boxes of documents, notes, photographs, newspaper articles, reports and publications. Altogether there are 992 separate items in the collection which have been used in exhibits, documentaries, educational programs and scholarly research that continues to inform the Museum’s interpretation of this formative era for Modern Valdez.

The Paul Finfer Collection contains a wealth of information on his vision for New Valdez. Numerous documents reveal challenges faced after the devastating quake to build a new home for Valdez residents, plus the collective problem-solving skills that went into its design, construction and ultimate evolution over the past fifty years. Finfer’s approach centered around involving community members in the visioning of their new home.

The Valdez Museum board, staff and dedicated volunteers are taking a similar approach toward our New Museum Project, with the intention of making the process transparent and inviting community input at every level.

THANK YOU, Mark Finfer, for your monetary donation and for your sincere interest in following our path to the successful completion of a new and expanded museum facility.