TALES FROM THE ARCHIVE

TALES FROM THE ARCHIVE

The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive has several components; first is the Main Museum on Egan Drive in downtown Valdez that includes a public gathering place where art and cultural exhibits are on display. Then there is the Archive which houses many different collections that together reflect the history of Valdez, Prince William Sound and the Copper River Basin. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic both locations of the Valdez Museum have been closed to the public since mid-March. The Main Museum will re-open and begin hosting visitors on July 1, 2020, but the Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit (ROVE) on Hazelet St. will remain closed for this summer season. The Archive there will be open to researchers by appointment only.

But with with the benefit of 21st Century technology staff of the Valdez Museum continue to create online programming to share with the public both within and outside of our immediate community. Each week new postings and links to resources are posted on our website for you to enjoy.

“What is it Wednesday?”

This week’s object of discovery resembles a large wooden caveman’s club, but it was really used in the early 1900’s for playing a sport that later became known as the “national pastime.” What is it? Click here to find out!

LIVE From the Archive-Main Museum Tour

This week Facebook Live viewers were treated to a tour of the Valdez Museum on Egan Drive just prior to its reopening day, July 1, 2020. Since the mid-March COVID-19 closure museum staff have been creating a host of online programming options and making preparations to reopen. They are following new state and federal health guidelines to ensure a safe environment for visitors, volunteers and staff. For more information on the VMHA COVID-19 Mitigation Plan click here. To enjoy Andrew’s online tour click here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

This week’s mystery object looks like an old fashioned black and white mini TV set in a substantial plastic casing. Sorry no photo, but here are a few hints: It is an object manufactured between 1983 – 1988 and was used in an administrative capacity by Alyeska Pipeline Company during the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. This object remains in good condition, causing Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein to boast:

“Isn’t she a beauty?!?”

He goes on the open up the casing and show the innards of this mystery object. Have a look yourself and find out what it is. Just click here.

LIVE From the Archivist’s Home

That’s right–this week Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein recorded from home, sporting a spiffy Hawiian shirt! He shares a plethora of information and news about what’s happening now at the Valdez Museum and what’s coming up in the future. He talks about a new face lift for the Yellow Warehouse, aka Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit (ROVE).

And Andrew gives a run down of new exhibits planned for well into 2021. But most exciting of all–Andrew reports on the Museum’s plans for re-opening on July 1, 2020. He’ll tell you all about it! Just click here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

Tune in to learn a host of little known facts about what Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein calls

“one of Valdez’s most underrated historical sites.”

The Pioneer Cemetery is located about 4 miles from the center of town near the ball fields and the Old Town Valdez site. It was used used from the late 1890’s – 1917. Goldstein says it houses numerous rare markers and is “chocked full of history.” And why is this historic site known as the “Chinese Cemetery?” Just click here to learn more!

LIVE From the Archive-Oral Histories, Collecting the Human Story

Oral histories are sound or video recordings in which individuals give their perspective on historical information, or eyewitness accounts of past experiences. Often, in the form of a recorded interview, they help people understand what life was like in a different era. Most importantly says Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein:

“Oral history relates how it FELT to be a participant in past events, and what the interviewee was thinking and feeling at the time.”

In this week’s video Andrew covers the advantages and disadvantages of this type of historical documentation. Click here to learn more.

“What is it Wednesday?”

Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein presents an an array of objects, one in particular, a “Hair Receiver”

reflects the grooming habits of folks in the Victorian Era. He cites one thing you need to keep in mind;

“The Victorians were absolutely obsessed with hair. Unlike today, where we are more obsessed with hair removal, back then they liked to keep theirs.”

How was it used–small pillows, pin cushions, hair wreaths?? Just click here to learn more.

LIVE From the Archive-Mylar Enclosures

This week Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein serves up another informative video about how to take care of your paper collections, keeping them pristine and dirt free! This method is good for double sided documents as well, plus it just requires low cost readily found materials. In the word of Mr. Goldstein:

“If you’re like me, you hate measuring, and there’s absolutely NO measuring involved in this project.”

He’ll tell you how it all works. Just click here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

This edition hits on a popular watering hole in Old Town Valdez, The Pinzon, whose beautiful antique bar now sits in the Museum. The featured object of today’s guessing game sits on top of the bar. Is it beer?

Well . . . . its namesake was actually a whiskey of reputed alcoholic content revered by frequent bar goers. This version of Green River is a non-alcoholic soda likely sold at The Pinzon during prohibition. Learn about the history of this unlikely bar beverage, and just “click” to hear Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein sing the catchy rhyming stanzas of an old time drinking song at the end of his entertaining presentation!

LIVE From the Archive-Time Capsules

Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein weaves the true tale of a sturdy welded metal box that nearly caused a Public Relations disaster! The Museum dedicated a time capsule in July, 1982, but the planned burial and re-dedication of the box was slated for July, 2007. Well, fortunately, a few months prior to that date the curiosity of a co-worker prompted Andrew to remove the time capsule’s top and check its contents. WHOOPS! Find out what happened next when he looked inside by clicking: here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

This week’s edition of Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein’s popular Facebook live artifact identification game prompted a range of guesses.

Is it a red light bulb?

NO. Is it a level? NO. Is it a device to measure barometric pressure? NO.

It’s Vapyr – X!

That’s right. But what does Vapyr-X do? Hint: It’s nickname is “fire grenade.” To learn more about this intriguing object in our collection just click here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

Quench your thirst for knowledge – That’s what Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein promises to do in this week’s Facebook live video. It concerns the colorful history of what was until recently the only brewery in Valdez, founded around the turn of the 20th Century.

Dr. Andres A. VonGunther’s hearty brews reportedly “really packed a punch!” But, if you read the label on the right backwards, you will find the name of VonGunther’s non-alcoholic brew, made to appease supporters of the Temperance Movement. These labels fetch a good price from collectors, and to learn how much, plus many more fun brewery facts, click this link: BEER. P.S. Hang tight through the initial film blips–it’s worth it!

LIVE From the Archive-Object Labeling

In his latest Facebook live visit to the Archive, Andrew Goldstein, Museum Curator, says “funny little numbers attached to artifacts on display” are a way of tracking what’s in the Archive. He says they do it the “old school way” by hand writing ID numbers into a log and later adding them to a data base. Learn more, plus watch Kyle Klause, Curatorial Assistant, demonstrate the labeling process on several pieces in the collection. Just click here!

“What is it Wednesday?”

Your challenge is to guess the oldest object in the Archive. Hint– it’s NOT Andrew Goldstein, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, but in this week’s video he shares what is!

This chunk of quartz was found up Mineral Creek Canyon near the old Stamp Mill. Andrew pegs the rock’s age at 1 to 1.5 BILLION years old! Here’s another collection item dating way back, but not that far!

This newspaper was published in 1785 and contains a story on Alaska and Prince William Sound written just 5 years after the end of Captain Cook’s expedition to Alaska. Andrew also explores many other treasures from the Museum’s Native Gallery you can see by clicking here!

LIVE From the Archive-Yellow Warehouse Facelift Starts

Andrew Goldstein braves the wind down by Kelsey Dock to show you the construction zone around the Yellow Warehouse, aka Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit aka the Annex, and talks about the building makeover. Then he steps inside while to share the good news of near completion for the Collections Cataloging Project.

View Andrew’s live broadcast from Monday, May 11, 2020 right here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

Andrew wandered across this artifact in the collection, and learned that it’s a close relative to a tool first used by ancient Egyptians to establish straight or horizontal lines in doing construction projects.

One viewer guessed Plumb bob

He was close says Andrew, who researched the artifact by consulting a handy book titled, Museum of Early American Tools. There he found a sketch of someone using what appears to be this same object to process lumber. The string is unwound and stretched to mark a chalk line on the log. Click here for the rest of the story!

LIVE From the Archive-Paper Cleaning

In this edition Andrew Goldstein shares tips on low-cost, easy ways to spruce up your old, yellowing papers and documents without training or special equipment, except for a white plastic eraser ground into crumbs!

This sign, written on a piece of stationary from the Hotel Valdez in Old Town, was placed on the face of a wall clock hanging in the hotel. Why? The clock stopped working! It was there from the 1920’s until 1964, when the Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami caused severe damage to Old Town and Valdez was eventually moved to its present day town site. Watch Andrew brighten up the sign by clicking here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

The subject of this week’s edition of our popular guessing game presented on Facebook Live looks borderline scary, and host Andrew Goldstein describes it as “a sturdy piece of equipment with moving parts.” Guesses from viewers include – jack or pipe bender?

This machine was used for crushing ore, and with a sly smile Goldstein calls it the “most bad ass name of any object in our collection.” What is It? JAW CRUSHER! To learn more about this fascinating machine click here.

A Surprise Special Guest!

LIVE From the Archive–Paper Eating Critters

Andrew Goldstein, along with his special guest Skippy, teach you how to deal with a variety of critters who enjoy munching on paper, cardboard and cloth. Andrew and Skippy, with the high pitched voice, give an entertaining presentation on how to preserve your important books and papers, keeping them from the ravages of annoying insects like Museum Beetles, Termites, Silverfish and maybe even the likes of Skippy! Click here for more.

“What is it Wednesday?”

In this edition Andrew Goldstein may just have you stumped!

This is one of two mystery objects you can guess at. But to learn the real truth, click here.

LIVE From the Archive-“Makers Marks”

Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein shares a wealth of information on how manufacturer’s labels help identify dates and history behind artifacts in the collection like this 1920’s era Corona typewriter. To learn more click here.

“What is it Wednesday?”

Join Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein for the April 15, 2020 edition of this popular video guessing game of selected mystery artifacts from the VMHA collection. This time he shows a number of curious objects, and some are even electrifying! Check them out right here!

LIVE From the Archive–Artifact cleaning

This segment, produced on Monday, April 13, 2020 gives a wealth of information on the When, How, and Why of cleaning artifacts by Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein. Click on cleanartifact to learn more.

“What is it Wednesday?”

This weekly feature produced by Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein highlights an object or artifact from the Museum’s vast collection. For Wed., April 8, 2020 the mystery object sat on a table, looking very much like a small bicycle with wooden wheels–but What is It? Click here to find out!

What is it?

LIVE From the Archive–Mezzanine Tour

In this segment Andrew Goldstein, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions continues with his “behind the scenes” tour of the Collections Cataloging project. Highlights include a trip up to the mezzanine level of the Valdez Museum on Hazelet aka ROVE (where the Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit lives), the Annex and the Yellow Warehouse. Roughly 300 items have now been cataloged, wrapped, labeled and neatly placed upstairs in storage cubicles. And yes, toward the end of this 12 minute video you WILL see Kyle Klause, Curatorial Assistant “take out a mallet and break something” as Andrew has promised. Just click on this link: viewfromupstairs.

Sneak preview of what’s upstairs

“What is it Wednesday?”

This weekly feature produced by Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein highlights an object or artifact from the Museum’s vast collection. Check out this offering filmed on April 1, 2020: mysterybox.

What is it?

Original LIVE From the Archive

Here is a peek into the Valdez Museum on Hazelet Street which houses the Remembering Old Town Exhibit and the Archive. Museum Curator Andrew Goldstein takes you on a tour showing progress of the Collections Cataloging project that began in the fall of 2019 and will be completed in the spring of 2020. Just click on this link: peekinthevault.