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Alaska Native Heritage Center Unveils Renovations

Jul 8, 2024 | Alaska Native, Construction, News, Nonprofits

Photo Credit: Christine Kohler | istock

Coinciding with its twenty-fifth anniversary this summer, the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) unveiled its newly renovated Hall of Cultures.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants who helped bring the ANHC to its current place,” says ANHC President and CEO Emily Edenshaw. “We are born out of a vision from the late Paul Tiulana, and we are honored to continue our mission-driven work to preserve and strengthen the traditions, languages, and arts of Alaska’s Native peoples.”

Qayaqs, a Qasgiq, and Returned Belongings

ANHC stands as the only statewide living cultural center representing all Alaska Native peoples. The Hall of Cultures renovation marks the first major conceptual update to ANHC’s exhibits since it was first established in northeast Anchorage.

Visitors can now explore completely remodeled Identity Galleries along with four new exhibits:

    • Qayaqs and Canoes: Native Ways of Knowing: This exhibit features eight traditional watercraft by Alaska Native master boat builders alongside apprentices, skin sewers, and their families.
    • Good Medicine: A Qasgiq (Men’s House) and a Menstruation or Seclusion Hut demonstrate these important ceremonial and traditional structures.
    • Nacheyakda’ina (“Our Ancestors” in Dena’ina): This preview exhibition explores cultural belongings that were removed from Alaska Native communities or are part of the movement for repatriation.
    • Education in Alaska: Disruption of traditional teachings: This exhibit delves into the history of education in Alaska, particularly the forced removal of Alaska Native children to boarding schools. Visitors are advised of the sensitive nature of this exhibit’s content, as the topic touches on traumatic experiences.
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In addition to unveiling its new museum and exhibits, ANHC has also updated physical spaces in its Gathering Place, lobby, and online presence with a new website

ANHC’s ongoing capital campaign supports this continued growth. The launch of this year’s $25 million campaign is part of a multi-phased fundraising strategy to better serve the Alaska Native community, Alaskan community, and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Here is a breakdown of the campaign phases:

    • Phase one (funded and complete): Renovations to the main building and museum, funded by donations and grants.
    • Phase two (funded): Update to the theater to create immersive experiences, funded by a grant.
    • Phase three (funded): Construction of a community healing garden, funded by a grant.
    • Phase four (ongoing): A $25 million expansion including a community hall with a subsistence kitchen, parking garage, lake restoration, and administrative offices, partially funded and seeking grants and donations. 

The newly remodeled Hall of Cultures is now open to the public. Summer season hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through September 15.

Photo Credit: Christine Kohler | istock

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Best of Alaska Business 2024
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Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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