• Youth get hands-on experience in history
By Randi Somers
Pratt Museum summer interns have the opportunity to investigate the thousands of items in storage at the museum and select one, retrieve it from storage, research, write about it and present their project to the public Wednesday afternoons.
Today Aidan Coyle will present his Steller’s sea cow rib research. The program is held between 2-3:30 p.m. on the lower level.
Last Wednesday, Caroline deCreeft exhibited her choice, a great horned owl, and discussed it with museum visitors.
Earlier this month Emily Schmidt displayed and explained the history of birch bark baskets created by the Dena’ina people. One of the rarest artifacts is a well-preserved, 1,000-year-old Kachemak Tradition birch bark basket that miraculously survived in a tide-swept cliff. The museum is recognized by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe of Dena’ina Athabaskans as a regional repository for cultural materials.
The program is sponsored by the Pratt and the National Park Service and conducted by Ryjil Christianson, Pratt’s director of education.
“The Object at Hand program offers high school interns the rare opportunity to explore the Pratt Museum’s collection, conduct a detailed scholarly investigation, and present their findings to the public,” said Christianson.
Selecting an area of interest to research, and objects to retrieve from storage, is no small matter. The Museum’s research collections include over 24,000 objects plus a library and archives. The collections constitute a regionally distinctive resource for research, exhibition and educational use. Areas of emphasis include natural science and cultural collections in anthropology, history, art, earth sciences and biology of the Kachemak Bay region and beyond.
Also, approximately 6,500 historical images document community development and Kachemak Bay in the photo archives, and approximately 6,000 images of the Museum’s institutional history and activities. In 1998, 92-year-old Ted Palmer returned briefly to Homer to provide an extraordinary oral history and donate photographs of his homestead life from 1920-1927, the oldest known photographs of family life in this area.
Twenty locally made quilts comprise the quilt collection. They can be integrated thematically with Museum exhibits. Fifteen of these were created by community quilters as complementary projects to the museum’s annual fundraising raffle quilts. Those in the permanent collection draw on a variety of cultural and natural history themes, such as historic buildings, wildflowers, and the changing of the seasons. They exemplify the vital tradition of community that has been the foundation for the Pratt Museum.
Comments are closed