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Grant number: PG-52586-15

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Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center, Inc. (Haines, AK 99827)
Helen Alten (Project Director: May 2014 to present)

Analyzing Climate Control at the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center

Hiring a consultant to undertake an environmental assessment and purchase of environmental monitoring equipment for the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center, located in the town of Haines, on the southeastern peninsula of Alaska. The museum documents the history and culture of native Tlingit tribes (Chilkat and Chilkoot) and of the first European settlers, who reached the area in 1880, in advance of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-99.  Haines is a center of Tlingit art, and the museum holds some exceptional examples of totem pole and house post carvings, as well as Chilkat blankets woven of local goat wool.  A significant photograph collection would also be preserved, one that includes rare interior shots of the nearby Klukwan Whale House, a ceremonial clan house, and of Haines House, a boarding school established by Presbyterian missionaries that served Tlingit children from 1921 to 1960. The collection is frequently visited by outside researchers and school groups, and is accessible to the public through permanent and rotating exhibits.

An environmental engineer will analyze climate controls at the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center (SMCC), which is located in Haines, Alaska, an environment that straddles the Southeast Temperate Rainforest and the Alaska Interiors extreme temperatures. The engineer will provide recommendations for altering the museum’s climate controls to increase relative humidity control and reduce monthly operating costs, which are exorbitant. SMCC houses some of the world’s premiere examples of Tlingit culture, including repatriated Chilkoot and Chilkat tribal artifacts held in trust at the museum. In addition, the museum holds materials documenting the history of Fort Seward, a military post at the edge of the American frontier; the Gold Rush; logging and fishing industries; shipwreck objects; and the Eldred Rock lighthouse lens. A collection of ivory cribbage boards is especially susceptible to relative humidity fluctuations.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Military History; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

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

Grant period:
1/1/2015 – 9/30/2017