Volume 3, Number 5
4th Quarter 2001
Message from the Director
I was warned by a National Weather Service person that we would have a long cold winter this year. It is indeed cold, however, as I look out my window at our seasonal visitor with his brilliant sparkles adorning our trees, houses (and yuk! ) driveways, I find I welcome the coziness of his arctic magic draping our land in winter. This winter is an especially exciting time for us because we are in the process of writing a "scope of work" plan and a budget of $1,000,000 to activate the $500,000 Save America's Treasures grant we've recently received. Why a budget of one million? It's a matching grant, which means we have to find another half million from other sources. When $20,000 is donated, it will immediately release another $20,000 from the federal grant, doubling the gift to $40,000. What a wonderful incentive for folks who want to support AMIPA.
Save America's Treasures is administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and funded by the Department of the Interior through the National Park Service. The $500,000 is dedicated funds for a three-year inventory and assessment of Alaskan audio/video collections, to find and count collections, evaluate their physical condition, and identify the most important material in preparation for the next stage of the project, preservation. These materials are housed in state and federal agencies, educational institutions, broadcast stations, and private and commercial production facilities across Alaska. It's a huge task.
It seems almost every week, a new collection walks through our doors. Sometimes professionally produced, most often they are small gauge collections (8mm, Super 8mm and 16mm film). More and more archives around the world are recognizing the important historical value of these small films. Today I received a call about whether we would accept old footage from Barrow and another film that was shot during the statehood celebration in Anchorage. What a delight. Whenever possible, we ask for the stories and for identification of the people and events in the films. Piece by piece we are retrieving Alaska's history . From the conversation I had with one gentleman today, it is a very colorful history filled with unique characters that make you smile and, as I did today, howl with laughter.
Our own history is pretty short. Born in 1992, by 1998 AMIPA had really begun to come into its own. That first grant from the municipality enabled us to hire, part-time, myself and one other person. In 2001, on the strength of our strategic plan, we hired more staff: Janelle Cowan, our Office Manager, Peter Sheffer, our Assistant Archivist, and most recently, Ben Ellis, our contract Development Specialist. We had taken on a project the previous year, working with John Stewart, then the director of the Alaska State Archives, to save Alaska's 55,000 hours of legislative and governmental recordings housed there. We knew we would have to take AMIPA to the next level in order to complete this project, while continuing to serve the needs of Anchorage and the state. We went forward on faith and hard work. Encouraged by Lee Gorsuch, Chancellor of UAA, we wrote the proposal for the Save America's Treasures grant and sent it to Senator Stevens. Sure enough, from off in the distance, under a cloud of spraying snow came the Senator on his great white charger with the appropriation (it wasn't quite as dramatic as that, but you get the picture!).
Matching this grant is another challenge for us, but we know we can do it with the help of our city, state and you, our members and supporters. We like to think we are helping you save our state's heritage as much as you are helping us. It simply has to be a team effort. We will also be able to use the money from the grant as leverage with major foundations and granting agencies both in and outside the state. We're kicking it up another notch, and 2002 is going to be a spectacular year.
With thoughts of the Barrow collection in mind, and still smiling about the incoming statehood film collection, my eyes are once again drawn to the brilliance of the landscape- a reminder of what a great and beautiful state we live in, the colorful cast of characters who have built it, and how important our work is, saving our cultural and historical heritage.
Happy Holidays.
Francine Lastufka Taylor
Executive Director
Annual Membership Meeting features "Greatland History Bus" Tour
The annual membership meeting was held on September 29th, introducing the membership to its new slate of Directors as well as presenting AMIPA's plans for the coming year. The meeting was highlighted by the first-ever appearance of the "Greatland History Bus", sponsored by Holland America Tours. An educational outreach project designed to take the rider back through Anchorage history, the "Greatland History Bus" utilizes film clips presented on the motorcoach video and sound system while traveling past historic sites around the town. Created by Francine Lastufka Taylor and Mike Jipping, the tour began at the archive and proceeded to Ship Creek and around Anchorage's important early locations. Cameron and Martin McKay, sons of member John McKay enjoyed the trip. "I really thought the clips were interesting, and it's a good idea to have people watch where they lived for a hundred years. It would be a really awesome field trip" said Cameron. Chimes in Martin "It's a really cool way to look back on history, because you can look back on what was there and what is there now."
The Frank Whaley Collection arrives
The first shipment of Frank Whaley's films have arrived and begun to be processed at AMIPA. Frank Whaley was a well-known State Senator (Fairbanks), gold miner, bush pilot and filmmaker who was also a co-organizer in 1961 of what would become the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. His collection comes to us from his son Lon Whaley in San Diego, CA.
Recent Donations:
  • Garry Russell / Alaska Film & Video:
    Equipment and Media Collection
  • Steve Levi:
    Salvador Dali art prints
  • Adelheid Pauls:
    Frank Pauls Media Collection
  • Dave Harbour:
    Harbour Media Collection
  • August "Augie" Hiebert:
    Hiebert Media Collection
  • H. A. "Red" Boucher:
    Boucher Media Collection
  • Lon Whaley:
    Frank Whaley Media Collection
Tech Report, by Bob Curtis-Johnson
In July, preservation expert Jim Wheeler of Tape Restoration Services and I traveled to Juneau to assess the legislative audio and video tape collection housed in the Alaska State Archives as a part of our Multi-year Legislative Media Preservation Project. With the help of then-State Archivist John Stewart, we methodically inspected the collection, which consists mainly of 1/4" audio reels, looking for signs of distress and creating a database of information on a sampling of the collection. The good news is that the collection is in very reasonable shape, with little to no sticking apparent, though humidity was twice the recommended level, a fact of life in Juneau's climate but one which calls out for the state to upgrade the environmental conditions in the storage facility. Thanks to the generally good condition of the materials observed, we have recommended as a preservation strategy that digital copies of the tapes be made, and the data stored on hard drives in a second location, creating the backup copy required for preservation purposes. The original analog tapes would be retained in the State Archives. Broader access goals can be realized by manipulating the digitized audio files, enabling either public or limited access from computers via networks or the internet. Cost is a significant factor in the access eventually created. It remains to be determined what level of access is desired for this collection. The next phase of the project is to select a digital audio file robust enough for preservation needs and run a pilot program to determine cost and time estimates for completing this important work on a collection of significant historical value to the state. See you next time.
AMIPA's newest staff member:
Assistant Archivist Peter Sheffer
Two years ago a practicum student came to us from Alaska Pacific University, interested in creating a senior project, and was introduced to the world of moving image archiving. Today, Peter Sheffer is the most recent addition to AMIPA's growing roster of full-time staff. Trained under Dwight Swanson and Bob Curtis-Johnson, Peter is processing film collections and transferring film and video to video on a daily basis as our Assistant Archivist. Peter holds a Bachelor degree from APU with a concentration in Film Studies, and as a young filmmaker is now completing his feature-length digital movie, Bedlam by the Moonlight.
AMIPA Members
The following people and organizations elect the Board of Directors and make our association possible. Please join us and help preserve Alaska's Moving Image Heritage.
Platinum Level ($5,000 & above):
Alaska Broadcasters Association
Municipality of Anchorage
Francine Lastufka Taylor
Grandview Gardens Cultural Center
Save America's Treasures
State of Alaska
Robert & Virginia Walp
Gold Level ($2,500 - $4,999):
Silver Level ($1,000 - $2,499):
Alaska Humanities Forum
Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association
CIRI Foundation
Augie Hiebert
Wells Fargo
Academy Level ($500 - $999):
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
Doyon, Ltd.
The Nerland Agency
John Miller
Peter Partnow
Porcaro Communications
Senator Ted & Catherine Stevens
Benefactor ($250 - $499):
Barnard Gottstein
Susan LaGrande
Gloria McCutcheon
C. Vincent Shortt
Donelle Thompson
Donor ($100 - $249):
Laura Bliss Spaan & Mike Spaan
Chuck Blomfield
Helen Butcher
Mike & Evie Dunham
Stephen Gong
Karl Gurcke
Dave Harbour
Sam Kito
Patrick Landry
Steven C. Levi
Colleen McDonald
Michele Miller
Walt Parker
Susan & Ted Parsons III
John & Carolyn Rader
Jim & Flo Rooney
The Frances & David Rose Foundation
Marie Schave
Jeff & Mary Silverman
Lowell Thomas Jr
Catherine Weimer
Family ($50 - $99):
Candace Beery
Mark Begich
Thomas Begich
Sylvia Broady
Janelle & Glenn Cowan
Bob & Kathy Curtis-Johnson
Ronald & Jonna Daugherty
Gerald & Beverly Dubie
Robert & Alicia Iden
Bob Jenkins
Nancy Mathey
Jim, Debbie & Kelly McCormack
Lisa Parker & Steve Horn
Millie & Robert Renkert
Chris & Linda Robinson
Jack & Martha Roderick
Jeanne Schaaf & Robert Werner
Brock & Janice Shamberg
Fay & Pat Von Gemmingen
Robert & Judy Weimer
Blair & Mary Wondzell
Dorothy & John Zappa
Individual ($35 - $49):
William Bacon III
John Benson & Sally Bentley
Phyllis Brown
Cordova Historical Society
Arthur Curtis
Bonnie Curtis
Elisa Fleener
Jill Galbraith
Barbara Garner
Christine Gill
Roz Goodman
Lucy Groh
Larue Hellenthal
Dianne Holmes
Lorie Kirker
Anne Landrum
Shirley Marpe
John McKay
Frank Norris
Sioux Plummer
Nina Prockish
Brita Rice
Don Rinker
Deborah Schildt
Kay Shelton
Kelly Stearns & Sean Edwards
Helen Strusz
Arliss Sturgulewski
Student/Senior ($20 - $34):
Daisy Lee Bitter
Pamela Eldridge
Jean Graves
Sylvia Johnson
Bob Wienhold
If your name has been inadvertantly left off this list, we apologize. Please call 907-279-8433 and we'll make it right.
Three Cheers for our Volunteers!
August 9th was the date for AMIPA's first annual Volunteer Appreciation event, and food was the order of the day. Those in attendance were treated to Chef Bob's barbecue burgers or bratwurst, and Francine's amazing array of homemade salads and condiments while listening to Celtic tunes performed by three talented members of the band "Evergreen." The volunteers were introduced and honored, and received an amusing "AMIPA Volunteer Preservation Kit" prepared by Janelle Cowan and Peter Sheffer. If you are a volunteer who was unable to attend and haven't picked up your kit by now, please stop by the office to receive your Preservation Kit and hear a chorus of "thank you's!" from us.