Archiving AK episode 10: Anchorage Museum Library and Archives

In this episode of Archiving AK, Arlene interviews Zane Treesh, the head of the Anchorage Museum’s Library and Archives. Zane splits his work between being a librarian and being an archivist for the Anchorage Museum. He talks about the kinds of materials they have, who their users are, and the types of work he does.

Here’s some additional information on a few things mentioned in the podcast.

At minute 5:35: the Steve McCutcheon collection

6:10 Ward Wells collection (online guide coming soon)

7:50 Randy Brandon collection

8:00 Fran Durner collection

8:55 Alaska Railroad/Alaskan Engineering Commission records

9:50 Wien collection

10:20 Herb Hilscher collection (online guide coming soon)

10:50 Vern Brickley collection

11:50 Adak Historical Society collection

12: 53 Boyer photography collection

14:05 Lu Liston collection (online guide coming soon)

16:20 Fourth Avenue Theatre collection (online guide coming soon)

18:45 Alaska Library Catalog (available from the home pages of many libraries in Alaska, including the Anchorage Museum’s library.

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Get help with research!

If you want to know how to find sources in Quick Search, cite a source in APA style, or find an annotated bibliography, along with many other common questions, you can go to Get Help with Research on the Consortium Library homepage. Here you will find many quick and clear guides that can help you with your research, any time you need it and any place you happen to be. In addition, Ask-a-Librarian for help at the Research Desk in the Library, next to the pendulum. Or connect with us online via Chat, Text, Email, or Phone. Have a great semester!

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New in the Archives: January 2019

The first month of 2019 has flown by, and somehow it is the first day of February already. This month we got back into the swing of things adding new items to Alaska’s Digital Archives, which was recently migrated to OCLC hosting. We also implemented a new solution for storing our digital materials that can only be accessed electronically and added some new collection descriptions to our website.

Collections described

Anchorage Celtic community posters and signs; 2004-2018. EPH-0417

McMac Shoppe sign; 1977-2004. EPH-0418

Alaska Steamship Company menus and publicity materials; undated, 1936-1942, 1952. EPH-0037. 0.01 cubic foot addition of menus from 1952.

EPH-0419-AHS: Alaska Department of Fish and Game publication invoices; 1959.

HMC-0879: Catherine Stadem papers; 1927-2015. 0.1 cubic foot addition. Cost of Living script, thank-you cards, program, fliers

Cost of Living script

Thomas Wade Bledsoe photographs; 1975-1985. HMC-1310 Photos from a biologist and professional photographer.

HMC-1092: Sleeper family papers; 1918-2017, bulk 1947-1984. Primarily papers  and photographs of the family of a U.S. Public Health Service employee who worked on the Alaska Insect Control Project in Anchorage from 1947 to 1954.

Group photo in front of Charles Sawyer Wilson's cabin. From Sleeper family papers.

Group photo in front of Charles Sawyer Wilson’s cabin. From Sleeper family papers.

HMC-1103-AHS: Donald Burnell photographs; 2000. Photographs of covered bridges and other structures in Alaska.

HMC-1288: Gene H. Lacy films; circa 1955-1968.  Films taken by a communications security analyst who was stationed at Fort Richardson.

UAA-0043: University Advancement photographs; 1967-2012. UAA photos, a 5.0 cubic foot addition.

Alaska’s Digital Archives

75 images from Clarence Leroy Andrews papers, HMC-0059

Tourists posing with totem poles

Tourists posing with totem poles. Clarence Leroy Andrews papers.

14 images from McGlashan and Monsen, HMC-1278

46 images from Francis J. Huber slides, HMC-1280

Frank Huber (right) and his son, Jeff, pose in front of their tent during a hunting trip

Frank Huber (right) and his son, Jeff, pose in front of their tent during a hunting trip. From Francis J. Huber slides.


Zane Treesh of the Anchorage Museum’s Library and Archives (and UAA alumni as well as occasional Consortium Library reference librarian)


Introducing NAS (Network Attached Storage)! Last year we found ourselves unable to add large files to the network drive where we were storing our digitized and born-digital materials, due to a lack of storage space. After reviewing our options with both Brad and ITS, we settled upon the NAS as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution to our problem. The NAS consists of seven hard drives, which are configured for redundancy so that if a drive fails the data is not automatically lost. The data is also backed up to a cloud storage system. Many thanks to Brad for setting up the system and showing us how to use it.

Thanks for reading!

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New in the Archives: December 2018

December was a fairly eventful month for us. November went out with a bang (a real one, a 7.0 earthquake with an epicenter very near Anchorage) and so our regular workload for early December was rewritten by needing to deal with the aftermath of the effects of shaking on a building and shelving units. Gwen and Veronica managed to clean up the over 130 boxes that landed on the floor of our archives vault (or on each other, really) in just about 8 hours of work. Arlene picked up the oversize books in Rare and Susan Klein, a local librarian, came in and helped us out by picking up the APU theses that had fallen and getting all of them in call number order and boxed for storage in the vault. Thanks Susan! We also did a few days of book and journal pickup in the other sections of the library too. We did a recap of our experiences with the quake in our December podcast and took a look at how compact shelving might have helped us have a different outcome in our blog. Thankfully none of the many aftershocks have caused any additional damage to collections or the facility, though we all seem to be a bit jumpy about some of the larger ones.


Here’s the collections and additions to collections that we described and prepared for access this month:

EPH-0416: Order of the Walrus certificate and pin; circa 1960-1969. 0.01 cubic feet.

HMC-1300: Craig Mishler papers; 1943-2015, bulk 1988-1998. 3 cubic feet. Papers from a folklorist and anthropologist.

HMC-1309: Chickaloon Coal Company records; 1910-1922, bulk 1917-1919. Documents regarding company operations.

HMC-1180: Walter Parker papers; circa 1940-2014. 6.1 GB Digital versions of documents that due to fire damage could not be saved.

HMC-0059: Clarence Leroy Andrews papers; 1892-1946, addition of 0.75 cubic feet, glass lantern slides.


We  hosted the poster session for Dr. Jennifer Stone’s History of the English Language course final. It’s always such a treat to see the use students are making of archival sources! Here’s a few photos of some of the projects and if you’re interested in learning more about how this topic can connect with archival sources, Gwen interviewed Dr. Stone for our podcast in November.

Alaska’s Digital Archives

Technically it was in November that the Alaska’s Digital Archives was moved to a new hosting platform, but it was December when we finally got the access to the administration of the site and could start updating items and adding more. It’s not the prettiest looking thing at the moment and there’s a few bits of customization that we’d gotten used to that are no longer available, but overall there are a lot of benefits to this change, especially once we get some work done on how the site looks. For starters, the site is now a responsive design which means that for folks working on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, they’ll have an easier time viewing the site because it will be resized to fit their screens. One behind the scenes benefit, which you might not be aware of, is the substantial costs savings and access to software upgrades. Due to how we’d been running the site, we no longer had access to software support which meant that a lot of software upgrades and bug fixes–like that responsive design–were not available to us. On the cost side, while each partner still absorbs the cost of digitizing, cataloging, uploading, and updating each individual item in the Digital Archives, our joint costs for software and server support and administration have been cut by well over half: from about $65,000 per year to just under $30,000 for the next year and we expect it to decrease even more in following years. That’s a huge cost savings to the three partners that pay for site maintenance (Alaska State Library, UAA/APU Consortium Library, and UAF Rasmuson Library) and will hopefully mean that sustaining partnerships will become more financially viable for some of our current partners who have been participating on a smaller level with limited term project partnerships. If you’ve been using the site in past and can’t find some functionality that you used to have, will you let us know? We’ll see if we can figure out if it can be re-established or if not, if there’s a different way of doing the same thing.

In the meantime, we’ve started working again to upload more items to the Digital Archives. For December, that was 14 additional images from the Clarence Leroy Andrews papers.

That’s it for December and 2018 too. We’re looking forward to another productive year but hope that won’t include any new substantial earthquake responses! We wish you all the best for 2019.

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Archiving AK episode 9: the quake

In this episode of Archiving AK, Gwen, Veronica, and Arlene tell their tales of the November 30th 2018 quake here in southcentral Alaska and then get together for a discussion of lessons learned and things observed. It’s a little longer than our standard podcast, but we hope you’ll forgive us for that.

Below are some of the references made during the recording:

1:00 the website for the 1964 Alaska earthquake archives project

1:30 Photographs digitized for the project

15:20 About 130 boxes were on the floor in the archives vault after the quake. Even more were hanging off of shelves.

31:35 Kevin is Kevin Tripp of AMIPA. AMIPA shares our facility with us. Kevin is much taller than everybody else who works in the archives space. It should also be noted that AMIPA sustained far more water damage than we did, due to a wrecked pipe on the floor above that spilled water and glycol in part of their space.

Here’s a few photographs of some of the damage in our space.

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New in the Archives: November 2018

November has come to a close, and while we normally try to get our monthly reports out before too long into the next month, the earthquake on November 30 put a dent in our plans (but not in our collections). We are back to normal operations and had some cleanup ahead of us, but no collections have been damaged from the earthquake. Just boxes and some folders, which are replaceable. However, for a majority of November, we had been busy describing new collections and additions to collections and speaking with donors.

Collections described:

HMC-0420: H.A. “Red” Boucher papers; 1942-1995, bulk 1978-1990. 2.0 cubic foot addition. “Red” Boucher was a member of the Fairbanks City Council (1961-1964) and mayor (1966-1970). He served as Lieutenant Governor from 1971-1974 under Governor William Egan. Thereafter, he became involved in various business activities. He later unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Anchorage and was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives where he served from 1984 to 1990. Boucher developed an interest in computers and telecommunications in the early 1980s and became a strong proponent of their development and use. The vast majority of this collection contains papers and files relating to the public career of H.A. “Red” Boucher.

HMC-0879: Catherine Stadem papers; 1927-2015. 0.01 cubic foot addition. Catherine Stadem is an Anchorage author and local theatre critic. The collection contains Stadem’s personal records and review files, which include playbills Stadem used to write her theatre review columns. The collection also contains the research files, correspondence, photographs, and publication information for The History of Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, 1915-2005 written by Stadem. Included in Stadem’s most recent addition was her pilot’s flight record pictured below.

HMC-1222: ACF. Alaska Culinary Association records; 1965-2015. 0.02 cubic foot addition. Records of a non-profit professional organization of culinary professionals, restaurant managers and owners, culinary educators, and food purveyors.

HMC-1255: Michel Villon papers; 1966-2017. 2.2 cubic feet addition. The collection contains papers of Michel Villon that relate to his career as a chef. The collection includes work schedules and correspondence, thank you cards from classes he taught and events he volunteered for, photographs taken of the Crow’s Nest and Prudhoe Bay, financial information and food costs, and Mt. Marathon planning, as well as materials used in courses he taught. Included in Villon’s most recent collection is a photograph album from his time at the Crow’s Nest, which is pictured below. The photographs in the album were put on Crow’s Nest menus.

HMC-1270: Max Gruenberg papers; 1955-2016, bulk 2004-2016. 3.6 cubic feet and 4 MB addition. Max Gruenberg was a Democratic member of the Alaska House of Representatives. The collection mostly contains bills files, which include correspondence, drafts, Gruenberg’s annotations, bill histories, fiscal notes, and amendments to various bills. The collection also includes photographs and constituent and legislative correspondence.

HMC-1302: William B. Workman papers; 1970-2005. 1.0 cubic feet. William B. (Bill) Workman is an archaeologist who has worked in a variety of Alaskan locations, primarily in southcentral Alaska. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin. He worked as a professor of anthropology at Alaska Methodist University from 1969 to 1976 and at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1977 on. Between 1970 and 1976 he was contracted by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company to do archaeological surveys and expeditions along the proposed Trans-Alaska Pipeline route. The collection contains field notes, notes, correspondence, and a typescript copy of the final report on the Trans-Alaska pipeline archaeological survey. The collection also includes some correspondence, papers, and presentations including papers on the history of archaeology in Alaska.

HMC-1307: Bruno Kroon papers; circa 1919. 0.01 cubic feet. Bruno Kroon emigrated from the Netherlands to Oregon in 1910. In 1919, he worked in Alaska, probably at canneries in False Pass and Mozhovoi Bay. The collection contains photographs of his time in Alaska.

Photograph of Bruno Kroon in his “hunting costume”.

HMC-1309: Dennis Neill papers; 1989 April-May. 0.3 cubic feet. Dennis Neill was the Public Information Officer for the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, an interagency emergency response team made up of representatives from various federal agencies, as well as state and local governments. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill on March 29, 1989, Neill worked for the Kenai Peninsula Borough as the Video Project Coordinator and was responsible for contracting to document skimming operations in the Elizabeth Island area, beach cleanup, boom deployment, bird and animal recovery, oil disposal, and administrative activities. The collection includes documents and video pertaining to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

UAA-0133: UAA. Institute of Social and Economic Research Fiscal Policy papers; 1989 August-1999 October. 0.01 cubic feet. ISER began publishing its series of Fiscal Policy Papers in 1989 to examine the effect of declining oil revenues on Alaska’s economy. The publication continued to analyze Alaska’s economy and fiscal policy over thirteen papers dating from 1989 to 2003. The Archives holds numbers 1-9 and 12.

UAA-0134: ACC. Associated Students of Anchorage Community College records; 1970-1971. 0.01 cubic feet. This series includes records related to the founding of ASACC including the constitution, election records, a newsletter, meeting notes, and announcements regarding on-campus movies.

Collection pickup adventure

There is already a blog post about this, but a couple weeks ago, with the help of friends and coworkers, we went to a former Anchorage business, the Stake Shop, and removed campaign signs from the walls. With the approval of the current owners, of course.

Below are some photographs of the adventure, and for more information  and additional photographs you can also read the blog post. We would again like to thank Sigrid, Steve, Sam, Kevin and all of the others who were involved in letting us know these signs were here and for helping us remove them.

One of the corners in the building with signs stapled to the walls.

Action shot of removing a staple.

Sam removing a sign.

Below are before and after shots of the wall.

The signs once we were able to bring them into the library.

Archiving AK

In the most recent episode of Archiving AK, archivist Gwen Higgins speaks with Dr. Jennifer Stone, a professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jennifer discusses her decision to incorporate archival research into her History of English Language course and what she has learned from having her students use archival sources for their projects. She also talks about her experiences using archives for her own research on language in Alaska.

You can find this and other episodes of the podcast right here on our website, on SoundCloud, and now, on iTunes.

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Back to partial operation

We’re back open to our normal hours on Wednesday, December 5. (With a few exceptions upcoming. See our main website page for details on those.)

But we’re not quite cleaned up from the earthquake quite yet. Here’s our current status:

Most archival collections are available for use but because the majority of the boxes that deshelved themselves during the quake are in the aisle that has our most frequently used collections, we may not be able to provide access to all collections immediately. Many collections in that aisle stayed in place, but since the floor is covered in boxes and documents, we are unable to reach them. We ask that if you are planning to come to the Archives to do research, contact us in advance of your visit to see if the materials you need will be accessible for your visit. We thank you for your patience as we start to clean up those boxes that did not stay shelved: getting this fixed and reshelved is a priority for us at this time.

The Rare Books room has similar issues. While the small and regular sized Rare Books are on compact shelving and did just fine through the quake, many of the oversize Rare and the APU masters theses are no longer on shelves. They do not seem to have suffered any damage but because we don’t want to cause more damage to them by wading through them to get to the ones still on shelves, access to these items may be delayed for awhile. Like with the archival collections, please contact us in advance of a visit to make sure the volume you want will be accessible to you.

Our research room is just fine, our offices less so, but we’re ready to resume access!

Thanks to all of you who have reached out to volunteer to help us clean. Unfortunately because the clean-up needs to happen in spaces that are not public spaces, we are unable to accommodate volunteers who are not currently employees of the Consortium Library. While it’s probably pretty safe, we just can’t take any chances that any of you might get hurt while dealing with these materials. Our Risk Management types would never forgive us and more importantly, we’d never forgive ourselves either.

We thank you for your patience and support as we continue on with clean-up. Here’s to some sunny days and lessening aftershocks. May you keep safe and happy and warm.

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