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Grant number: PG-233829-16

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North Slope Borough (Barrow, AK 99723-0069)
Kathy Ahgeak (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Preservation of Oil Paintings at the Inupiat Heritage Center Museum

Hiring a paintings conservator to undertake an item-level conservation assessment of seven paintings that document lifeways and history of the native peoples of the North Slope Borough (the northernmost coast of Alaska).  The oil paintings, housed at the Inupiat Heritage Center Museum, depict unique Inupiat cultural traditions and community leaders, with one painting, “Hunters of the North” (Lunda Hoyle Gill, 1983), showing whaling practices, traditional clothing, weapons, and boat construction.  The consultant would also offer a workshop to staff on preventive conservation.  The museum collections are viewed by school groups and tourists and are used by community members for genealogical research.  The museum is engaged in an active program of recording oral histories that help illuminate the physical collections for a richer documentation of Inupiaq history, language, and culture.

The Department of Inupiat History, Language, and Culture would like to apply for grant funding to help preserve their oil painting collection consisting of seven oil paintings depicting unique Inupiat traditions, cultural practices, such as whaling, and past Inupiaq leaders. The Inupiat culture is currently very fragile due to an ongoing struggle to keep their valuable traditions alive while also adjusting to outside influences. These oil paintings would help with the cultural continuity of whaling practices and remembrance of past leaders who helped paved the way for the Inupiat people. If awarded this grant, it would fund the travel and services of a paintings conservator from the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts. The conservator would  examine the oil paintings to determine treatment proposals and cost estimates, and provide training to the museum's collection management technicians.

Project fields:
Arts, General; Cultural History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017