New Museum Project

New Museum Project

October 14, 2020

A two-day site visit by representatives from both Wolf Architecture, Inc. and Hennebery Eddy Architects, Inc. is scheduled for October 19th and 20th. The visit will include several planning sessions with the Museum Board, Staff and Stakeholders, as well as an OPEN HOUSE on Tuesday, October 20th. Members of the public are invited to meet these talented museum design professionals, ask questions and share ideas. Read more about their visit by clicking on Project Updates in the upper right hand corner of this page.

September 8, 2020

The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive Board of Directors is excited to announce that a talented team of architects has been chosen to help the Museum achieve its long-held dream of a new expanded museum building to house all our collections and exhibits under one roof. Wolf Architecture, in partnership with Hennebery Eddy Architects will provide the engineering and architectural design work, public outreach and fundraising support for our new museum facility. We will be sharing more information with the public about our goals and plans that will lead us toward achieving this long-held dream, and we look forward to working with this talented team! Details about the history and achievements of Wolf Architecture / Hennebery Eddy Architects can be found by clicking on Project Updates in the upper right hand corner of this page.

April 27, 2020

After many months of forward movement on the new museum building project we are now at a temporary halt due to the COVID-19 global pandemic that since March 13, 2020 has shut our doors until further notice as per a mandate by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. A final decision on where to locate the new Valdez Museum & Historical Archive (VMHA) was made at the regular Valdez City Council meeting on February 18, 2020 when council members passed a resolution to establish the geographic location for the expansion and consolidation of the Valdez Museum facilities.

This is a monumental step for the multi-year New Museum Project that aims to house all VMHA collections and exhibits in one building. Forward movement on the project has been consistent since the Museum and City of Valdez signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on January 15, 2019 to work together on planning for and building a new museum facility. The MOU outlines terms for a 50% funding match between the City and the VMHA.

That step led the Museum to launch an ongoing public outreach effort to gather input from the community during each of phase of the 5-year building project. The resolution passed by the City Council confirms that location for future expansion and consolidation of the VMHA facilities. This opens the door for fundraising opportunities leading to a new Valdez Museum which the whole community can enjoy.

February 10, 2020

On January 16, 2020 Members of the Valdez City Council met in a work session to focus on choosing a building site for the new museum facility. It was a round table discussion between council members and the Board and Staff of the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive (VMHA), with roughly 20 audience members. During the hour and a half meeting council members and the audience were introduced to the four final selections for a building site, and by the end of the session one was chosen. The final site was was originally slated to be up for approval at the February 4, 2020 regular City Council meeting, but that has now been postponed. The final site selection will now be on the February 18, 2020 regular City Council meeting agenda. For more detailed information on the January 16, 2020 council work session please go to the Project Updates page.

December 6, 2019

The Valdez Museum continues to move forward with its efforts to build a new museum. This past summer Board and Staff were out in the community to raise public awareness about the Capital Project, answering key questions about why we need a new museum, and taking a survey to measure public support for the project. They shared survey results with the Valdez City Council at the VMHA Annual Meeting on Oct. 15, 2019. Of 278 community members surveyed so far, 271 say yes and 7 say no to a new museum.

Stakeholders in the Capital Project continue efforts to pare down the original scope of work, reducing costs yet providing the space needed for consolidating the Museum’s collections and furthering its mission to the community. At the recommendation of Nathan Duval, Capital Facilities Director, the Anchorage Architectural firm ECI is now working to vet the three final proposed building sites. Two of the ECI staff recently had a two-day site visit at both Museum locations to better evaluate the amount of space needed to operate comfortably and cost effectively. Executive Director Patricia Relay said the site visit and meetings with Board and Staff were very productive:

“It was an opportunity to look at all the hard work done in 2016 and to re-evaluate the new museum in a way that accommodates the current financial climate.”

ECI is refining the program of work according to the size of each site, weighing the pros and cons, and doing a conceptual rendering in order to estimate the cost of building on each of the three sites. The ECI team will visit Valdez again on Dec. 16, 2019 to prepare for the City Council Work Session on Jan. 16, 2020, when Council members will finalize the site selection.

July 15, 2019

The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive (VMHA) launched its Community Outreach Campaign when VMHA Board members manned a booth at the City of Valdez Annual Fourth of July Celebration to talk with people, answer questions and distribute our new Outreach Brochure, WHY BUILD A NEW MUSEUM? At the outreach events two Interactive surveys are used to gather feedback. One survey contains a “yes” or “no” question, “Do you support building a new Valdez Museum?” Survey results from the July 4th event show overwhelming support for building a new museum, with 202 “yes” votes and only 2 “no” votes. Another survey asks individuals to pick one building site from three previously identified by museum staff and stakeholders as possible locations for a new museum. Two of the three possible locations are tied for the top slot.

In addition, the Museum has launched a new online survey accessible here: survey.

To date, responses are positive to the first question in the online survey, “Do you support building a new Valdez Museum?” with 68% answering “yes” and 31% answering “no”. Results for the second question, “If you support building a new Museum, where?” show 50% in favor of Site K, Hill North of Civic Center Parking Lot; 16% in favor of Site R, PVC Lots behind State Courthouse; 8% in favor of Site E, Parking Lot on South Hazelet; and 25% favoring alternate locations.

The next Community Outreach Event will be held at the Open Air Market of the 2019 Valdez Gold Rush Days during the first weekend in August. That’s when VMHA Board members will again be manning a booth to share  our new Outreach Brochure and lively conversation with the community about future hopes for the Valdez Museum.

June 13, 2019

The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive is again moving forward with plans to build a new museum facility. On February 19, 2019 the Valdez City Council voted to approve a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the VMHA and City of Valdez to jointly plan for and construct a new museum facility. Since then, the Building Committee has met twice and narrowed down the field of possible building sites to three.The museum Board and Staff must work with the City Council and Administration to choose a final site for the new museum. The decision will be based on community feedback. In order to gain public support we are launching a community outreach effort to educate the public on the Museum’s needs as well as determine what portion of the community supports a new museum facility and where they want it to be built.

The museum Board and Staff is in the process of developing a two-stage outreach plan.

Stage 1 Content Design & Development:  A four-page brochure is being finalized. On the cover is the key question of Why Build a New Museum?  The two inside pages contain four questions with answers below each one:

  • Why is the Museum important to the community?
  • Why does the Museum need more space?
  • Why does the Museum need one facility?
  • What is the economic impact of a new museum?

The back cover displays a map on which the three final building sites are marked. It also gives a description of each site and its key features. Other supporting materials include four large “pop-up” banners to be displayed at outreach gatherings.

Stage 2 Implementation:  Both passive and aggressive strategies will be employed.


  • Museum website, Social media, Radio and Print media


  • Museum presence at various public events such as festivals and fairs
  • One-on-one contact with individuals in different settings; such as outside the Post Office, a table at Safeway, presentations at the Senior Center, Coast Guard community center, churches, Valdez Native Tribe plus local eating and drinking establishments

Community outreach will be a long term effort, but the initial phase will yield survey results that demonstrate what portion of the community supports a new museum facility, and where supporters want it to be built. Armed with that information we can schedule a City Council work session and move forward with the site selection process.