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Longtime Museum Exhibit Designer to Retire


For Immediate Release
Oct. 22, 2009

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - After 30 years at the University of Alaska Museum of the
North, longtime exhibit designer Wanda Chin plans to retire at the end of

"Few have dedicated as many years to this museum as Wanda Chin," says museum
director Carol Diebel. "I have been so impressed by her philosophical
approach to exhibitions and her deeply embedded commitment to cross-cultural
collaborations, innovative design and inspiring the diversity of our museum
visitors. She will leave a lasting impact on this museum."

Chin's relationship with the University of Alaska Museum of the North began
in 1978 when, as a consultant, she helped design and develop the exhibits in
the museum's new building. She returned to Fairbanks in February 1979 to
join the museum staff full-time. More recently, Chin was instrumental in the
design and installation of the Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery, the
centerpiece of the museum's new wing and a gallery that has been called "a
model for 21st century art and anthropological museums." Over the course of
her museum career, she designed more than 30 special exhibits, bringing in
artists, scientists and other community collaborators to develop exhibit
themes and content. These community partnerships led to exhibits on a wide
range of subjects, including the internment of Aleuts and Alaska's Japanese
Americans during World War II, the women of the gold rush, the
African-American experience building the Alaska Highway and the art of
Denali National Park and Preserve, which is featured in the museum's current
special exhibit.

Her efforts extended far beyond the museum's walls, working with museums
across the state to expand opportunities for collaboration, training and
leadership and serving as an advisor to projects such as the People of
Whaling exhibit at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow. She was also
awarded several public art commissions; her work can be seen at the Tok
Visitor Center, the Rabinowitz Courthouse in Fairbanks and the Asian Alaskan
Cultural Center and Northwood School in Anchorage.

Chin was recently selected to receive the 2009 Governor's Award for the Arts
in the arts advocacy category. The award recognizes her longtime commitment
to the arts and to museums in Alaska. The Governor's Awards for the Arts and
Humanities are presented in seven categories. Governor Parnell will present
the awards in Anchorage tonight. Later this month, Chin and her husband
Terry Dickey will be joint recipients of the Western Museum's Association's
Directors Chair Award for their contributions to the museum profession.
Dickey retired in 2007 after 31 years at the museum.

A retirement celebration is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30
p.m. at the museum. Community members who worked with Chin over the course
of her museum career are invited to attend. The event will be a potluck
dinner, and guests are asked to bring a dish or beverage to share. For more
information on the retirement celebration or to RSVP for the event, please
call 474-6939.
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