GATHERING OF CULTURES – Dorothy Gordon holds year-old Marilyn De La Torre as they perform an entrance song Thursday at the B.J McGillis Gym during the annual Gathering of Cultures. A Tlingit dance group made up of several Sitka Tlingit dance groups opened the gathering. Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s student dance groups representing cultural groups from five regions of Alaska also performed. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Maine Ruling Roils Sitka Cruise Waters
01 Mar 2024 15:42

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Local advocates for a limit on cruise ship numbers sa [ ... ]

Fireweed Alumni Join in for Dance Gala
01 Mar 2024 15:40

Sentinel Staff Writer
    At Saturday’s annual Fireweed Dance Theatre Gala Pe [ ... ]

Young Barracudas Break Swim Club Records
01 Mar 2024 15:36

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Baranof Barracudas Swim Club members set new club rec [ ... ]

City League Volleyball Nailbiter
01 Mar 2024 15:30

By Sentinel Staff
    Thursday evening in City League volleyball gameplay, Yellow Jersey beat the  [ ... ]

Long Trail Advocates Seek Hike in Funding
01 Mar 2024 14:33

Alaska Beacon
    Trail advocates are asking legislators to appropriate more than $ [ ... ]

House Hands Senate Child Care Crisis Bill
01 Mar 2024 14:31

Alaska Beacon
    Most members of the House supported a bill that aims to expand [ ... ]

March 1, 2024, Local News
01 Mar 2024 14:09

Climate Connection – Sitka Housing and Climate
Housing costs in Sitka are a huge concern, worsened  [ ... ]

March 1, 2024, Police Blotter
01 Mar 2024 13:59

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:

February 29
At 10:24 a.m. a deaf dog and an [ ... ]

New Group Focuses On Cruise Ship Policy
29 Feb 2024 15:24

Sentinel Staff Writer
    A group advocating for better local control of cruise [ ... ]

Sitkans Ready Raunchy Revue for Stage
29 Feb 2024 15:23

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Ribald comedy with suggestive jokes and a sylvan theme [ ... ]

Bag Limit Changes Open for Comments
29 Feb 2024 15:20

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Senate Resources Committee will take public testi [ ... ]

Spring is Theme for Blatchley Concert Tonight
29 Feb 2024 15:19

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Blatchley Middle School music director is promisi [ ... ]

City League Volleyball Gameplay
29 Feb 2024 15:17

By Sentinel Staff
    In two sets, the SEARHC Slammers defeated the Beak Brunchers, Wednesday even [ ... ]

Lady Braves Beat Sitka in Pre-Tourney Game
29 Feb 2024 15:16

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Mt. Edgecumbe’s Lady Braves closed out the regular  [ ... ]

State School Board Has $500M Projects Listed
29 Feb 2024 15:08

Alaska Beacon
    The state’s Board of Education and Early Development approve [ ... ]

Fetus-Person Proposal Gets Strong Pushback
29 Feb 2024 15:07

Alaska Beacon
    An Alaska House member has proposed a bill that seeks to estab [ ... ]

February 29, 2024, Community Happenings
29 Feb 2024 13:16

Sitka APC Trust Open
For Grant Applications The Sitka Alaska Charitable Trust has announced that $92 [ ... ]

February 29, 2024, Police Blotter
29 Feb 2024 13:12

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
February 28
At 6:58 a.m. seve [ ... ]

Terminal Gets Boost With Airport Lease
28 Feb 2024 15:08

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a 55-yea [ ... ]

School Official Says New Funds in Doubt
28 Feb 2024 14:48

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Sitka School District and other districts around  [ ... ]

Petitions for Wage, Voting Ballot Initiatives Sign...
28 Feb 2024 14:47

Alaska Beacon
    A pair of ballot measures have enough public support to appear on [ ... ]

Gov Threatens Veto Of School Funds Bill
28 Feb 2024 14:46

Alaska Beacon
    Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued an ultimatum  [ ... ]

Edgecumbe Earns Another Rivalry Victory
28 Feb 2024 14:45

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Propelled by a strong defense and accurate shooting i [ ... ]

Volleyball Scores
28 Feb 2024 14:39

By Sentinel Staff
    The Queen Bees overcame Ludvig’s Lancers 2-0 in their competitive division [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Sell the SJ Museum? State Plan Stirs Furor

Sentinel Staff Writer
     A state official told a state House Finance Subcommittee Friday that the state is looking into selling or transferring Sitka’s Sheldon Jackson Museum and the adjacent Stratton Library building, in line with Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s directive.
    “Related to the governor’s directive, we have received a directive to look into selling or transferring properties in Sitka, namely the Stratton building and the Sheldon Jackson Museum,” Patience Frederiksen, the director of libraries, archives and museums told the subcommittee on Education and Early Development.   
    The SJ Museum dates from 1897 when it was founded by Presbyterian missionary Sheldon Jackson. Sheldon Jackson College sold the museum and its world-renowned ethnographic collection to the state in 1983 and the building has been upgraded and expanded since then.
     “At this point, we’re still working out the details for (the Dunleavy) directive,” Frederiksen said. “The idea is that the building and its collection will be sold, and we will remove any state property ... but that the collection would remain with the museum and we would try to find someone in Sitka who would purchase the facility and hopefully with the end of operating it.”
    The museum is significant as the oldest concrete building in Alaska, and is a contributing building to the Sheldon Jackson School National Historic Landmark.

The Sheldon Jackson Museum and the Stratton library, at right, are pictured today. (Sentinel Photo)

    The museum has two full-time and two part-time employees, is open to the public, and operates education and museum programs, Patience Frederiksen told the subcommittee. The museum also has a Alaska Native artist residency program, and a program that loans educational artifacts to schools statewide.
    The idea of selling or transferring the museum out of state hands is being met by resistance by SJ Museum advocates, Sitka’s Sen. Bert Stedman and Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, who said he was “deeply concerned and opposed.”
    Stedman commented: “There is no way the state is going to sell off historical artifacts because of a momentary budget issues over the next couple of years ... One of the most important assets every generation faces is what they want to archive for future generations. Also, the historical significance of the SJ Museum is extremely high. It’s on the National Historic Register and has a collection that surpasses anything in the state or at the Smithsonian Institution.”
    The word of the proposed sale or transfer of the museum reached the ears also of the nonprofit Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum around midday on Friday. Board members sounded the alarm in the community, and started discussing strategies for responding.
    Rosemary Carlton, president of the Friends group, said she heard about the prospective sale of the properties from a source in Juneau, who advised her to stop by the SJ Museum, where staff had been provided with more details.
    “I was shocked; I was dumbfounded that this could be a possibility that it was being considered,” she said. “It’s a world-class museum right here in Sitka.”
    Carlton, who was an interpretation specialist at the museum for 17 years and curator for 8, said the museum is an asset not only to local residents and their schools, but Alaska Native groups who use the materials for important ceremonial activities. The museum is also a draw for visitors, she added.
    “It gets worldwide attention when materials are put on temporary loan in places like Paris, New York ....” Carlton said. “It’s an amazing collection that helps not only educate school groups here, but it’s educating the entire world on the Native peoples of Alaska.”
    The Friends group has already started getting the word out on the threat to the museum. Members selling tickets for their annual drawing had information about the Dunleavy directive on their sales table on Saturday.
    “It’s an institution that’s existed since the late 1880s and is still going,” Carlton said. “There’s not a lot of institutions like that in Alaska with such an important mission and collection.”
    Stedman agreed, and said it’s not an expensive museum to operate. He noted the cost of running Sheldon Jackson Museum pales in comparison to the some $100 million spent in recent years on the new state museum and archives in Juneau.
    “The SJ Museum is a rounding error in the scope of things,” the senator said.
    Frederiksen told the subcommittee on Friday the admission fees to the museum cover operation and maintenance, but not payroll and benefits. Stedman noted revenues from admissions will climb this summer and next with the forecast of increased cruise ship stops in Sitka.
    Stedman was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in 2010 when the state purchased the Stratton Library from the SJ Board of Trustees with the intent of using it as part of the SJ museum next door. He said today he plans to see that project through.
    “I’ll be meeting with the director of museums when she gets back in a few days, to see about finishing up Stratton Library, and getting it into the position of housing the collection, and generating income,” he said. The state has already renovated the siding and roofing but more work is needed for the building to be used to store materials and artifacts. He suggested income could be generated through renting out unused space in the building.
    Stedman is currently co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, in charge of the budget on the operations side. But he said he is taking notice when he hears developments on the House side that concern his Southeast communities, and is responding.
    “It showed I must have a pretty good heart – it didn’t give me a coronary but it got my heart running,” he said.

You have no rights to post comments

Login Form




At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






March 2004

Photo caption: Fire engines and ambulances shine in the sun outside the new fire hall Saturday during an open house. Hundreds turned out to look over the $4 million facility, which is twice the size of the building it replaced. It features a state-of-the-art exhaust system and much larger offices and a large training room.


March 1974

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will have a special showing of replicas of ancient Tlingit hunting weapons. The replicas were made by A. P. Johnson, a Tlingit  culture instructor and metal arts teacher at SJC.


Local Events


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Instagram!


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Facebook!