December 23, 2014
Just what does the Anchorage Museum collect and why? Q&A with Director of Collections Monica Shah
How do you decide what goes in the museum’s collections?
We are very much a museum of the North, focusing on Alaska art, history and culture, but also more broadly on the Circumpolar North. The museum's collections remind us we are not separate from, but connected to, the rest of the Arctic and the world.
What recent acquisitions stand out to you?
I’m very proud of two works we acquired last year: a carved and painted wood panel by James Schoppert (1947-1992), from his Blueberries series (pictured). We also purchased a Chilkat robe woven by master weaver Jennie Thlunaut (1890-1986). These two pieces were by master artists whose works rarely come on the market. With them in the museum's collection, they will be available for future generations to learn from and admire.
How does the museum acquire art and objects?
Most pieces and collections are donated, but some are purchased. Some acquisitions opportunities come to us. Many collections stem from long-term relationships with individuals and families. When we see a gap, we pursue what we need. The Anchorage Museum Association has a dedicated acquisition fund. All revenue sources - memberships, grants, admission feed, donations, endowments - everything helps.
Member Benefit: Behind-The-Scenes Tour
Museum members are invited to join us for a tour of areas the public seldom sees. Take a peek into the Atwood Resource Center, repository of the library and archives. Or learn how conservators keep art and objects in good condition and visit the storage areas where most of the collection is kept. Tour dates vary. Members receive invitations via e-mail, so please contact us at membership@ anchoragemuseum.org if we do not have your current address on file.