Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/21/2017 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:03:40 AM Start
08:04:42 AM HB166
09:22:57 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Location Change --
*+ HB 166 MUSEUM CONSTRUCTION GRANT PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                                                                                                                                
            HB 166-MUSEUM CONSTRUCTION GRANT PROGRAM                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[Contains brief mention of SB 7.]                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:04:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER announced that the  only order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE   BILL  NO.   166,  "An   Act  establishing   a  museum                                                               
construction  grant  program  in   the  Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community, and Economic Development."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:05:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  PARISH,  as  prime  sponsor,  presented  HB  166.    He                                                               
paraphrased  the   sponsor  statement,  which  read   as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill 166 establishes  a matching grant program in                                                                    
     the  Department  of  Commerce, Community  and  Economic                                                                    
     Development,   for    eligible   museum   construction,                                                                    
     expansion  or major  renovation  projects. Museums  are                                                                    
     eligible  for  this  program if  they  are  located  in                                                                    
     Alaska, entitled  to receive state grants,  and provide                                                                    
     matching  funds  from  other sources  of  at  least  50                                                                    
     percent of the  project costs. Alaska has  more than 60                                                                    
     museums  throughout the  state  that provide  cultural,                                                                    
     tourism,  and  educational   programs.  Alaska  museums                                                                    
     receive 380,993  annual visitors and they  serve 29,469                                                                    
     school  children  each  year. Alaskan  communities  are                                                                    
     enriched with  the art, history, and  cultural language                                                                    
     and education provided at the  museums. The approval of                                                                    
     this bill  will enable  museums to access  and leverage                                                                    
     funding so that they may  improve, expand or upgrade as                                                                    
     needed, when funds are  appropriated. Included with the                                                                    
     bill documents  you will find  twenty three  letters of                                                                    
     support  from  nine  different  Alaskan  museums,  four                                                                    
     regional   or  statewide   museums  organizations   and                                                                    
     Senator Bishop.  The award is subject  to appropriation                                                                    
     and cannot  exceed more  than 50  percent of  the total                                                                    
     proposed project costs. HB 166  is a companion bill for                                                                    
     SB 7, Sponsors: STEVENS, Bishop, Stedman and Egan.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR PARISH  added, "This  does not  allocate money;  it only                                                               
creates a  program to which,  in happier  days, we'll be  able to                                                               
put some  money for  museums which are  able to  find substantial                                                               
alternate sources of funding."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:07:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER noted  the co-sponsorship  of HB  166 and                                                               
asked  Co-Chair  Parish  if  there is  a  particular  project  he                                                               
envisions for Southeast Alaska should HB 166 pass.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  answered no,  but he opined  that [Juneau]                                                               
does benefit  from some of  the finest  museums in the  state and                                                               
everyone  in the  state should  have similar  opportunities.   He                                                               
noted  that museums  throughout the  state may  benefit under  HB                                                               
166.   He  pointed  to the  numerous letters  of  support in  the                                                               
committee packet  and indicated  two are from  Juneau -  one from                                                               
the [Juneau-Douglas] City Museum.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked how  the State Library,  Archives &                                                               
Museum (SLAM) construction was financed.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR PARISH indicated he did not know.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:09:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA  WORL, Staff,  Representative  Justin  Parish, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of  Representative Parish,  prime sponsor                                                               
of  HB 166,  offered  her understanding  that  SLAM was  financed                                                               
partially by means of an  appropriation through a program similar                                                               
to that set  up for the libraries by the  Department of Commerce,                                                               
Community &  Economic Development  (DCCED).   She noted  that the                                                               
director  of  the Division  of  Community  and Regional  Affairs,                                                               
Katherine Eldemar, was available via teleconference.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  said he  would  appreciate  a source  of                                                               
reliable information as to how that facility was constructed.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:10:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked what  other funding  mechanisms the                                                               
bill sponsor would envision regarding  the 50 percent match under                                                               
HB 166.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   PARISH   answered   he  imagines   there   would   be:                                                               
applications to  large philanthropic  organizations, such  as the                                                               
Rasmussen  Foundation; concerned  community groups  raising funds                                                               
"by hook or  by crook"; and a good number  of corporate sponsors.                                                               
He  said, "There  are no  few individuals  and organizations  who                                                               
recognize the  bounty that  museums can  have to  our communities                                                               
and are willing to put their money where their mouth is."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if  Co-Chair Parish  envisions that                                                               
the matches would  have to be private or could  be from municipal                                                               
fund sources.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR PARISH  answered that he  imagines people  attempting to                                                               
build  a museum  would accept  money from  any source  willing to                                                               
provide it, including public sources.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:12:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER opened public testimony on HB 166.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:12:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA RELAY,  Executive Director,  Valdez Museum  & Historical                                                               
Archives,  stated  that  she  is  the  co-chair  of  an  advocacy                                                               
committee  for Museums  Alaska [a  statewide museum  association]                                                               
but  is  speaking  today  on   behalf  of  the  Valdez  Museum  &                                                               
Historical Archives  in support of  HB 166.  She  paraphrased her                                                               
written  testimony,  [included  in   the  committee  packet],  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Museums  are  facing   critical  infrastructure  issues                                                                    
     throughout the state.  Research  shows that almost half                                                                    
     of  all  museums  in the  state  are  either  currently                                                                    
     involved in  a construction ...  project or will  be in                                                                    
     the next five  years.  That's pretty  incredible.  This                                                                    
     bill   provides  the   structure  for   establishing  a                                                                    
     systematic  approach  to  prioritizing  museum  capital                                                                    
     project  ...  funding  requests  ...  [in]  the  state.                                                                    
     Museums  and cultural  organizations  in  Alaska are  a                                                                    
     critical   part  of   our   educational  and   economic                                                                    
     infrastructure, spurring tourism  and partnering [with]                                                                    
     schools   to  teach   the  local   curriculum.     They                                                                    
     contribute to  our economy  and wellbeing  by employing                                                                    
     over 260 Alaskans  statewide.  We spend  over ... $23.5                                                                    
     million  annually in  the state;  we host  over 650,000                                                                    
     visitors  annually;   and  serve  over   36,000  school                                                                    
     children annually  ....  In  Valdez, ... we  spend over                                                                    
     $1.3 million  annually in our local  community; we host                                                                    
     over  20,000   visitors  annually;   and  in   a  small                                                                    
     community  of  less than  4,000,  we  serve over  3,000                                                                    
     school children annually.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Despite this vital role of  museums, our facilities and                                                                    
     collections   ...  are   at  risk   through  decreasing                                                                    
     federal, local, and charitable  giving.  As collections                                                                    
     grow and  visitation increases,  the pressure  ... [on]                                                                    
     our aging  infrastructure must be managed.   The Valdez                                                                    
     Museum [&  Historical Archive] is  no stranger  to this                                                                    
     dilemma.  We've accomplished a  lot within the last few                                                                    
     years:  incorporating [a]  successful expanded range of                                                                    
     public   programming;   major   upgrades   to   several                                                                    
     exhibits;  we've  increased  visitation; ...  and  [the                                                                    
     museum has]  raised ... [its] standards  of collections                                                                    
     management.      Despite    these   achievements,   our                                                                    
     institution is now at a  point in which its progress is                                                                    
     being hampered by  limitations of space.   ... In order                                                                    
     to    maintain   and    improve   our    standards   of                                                                    
     professionalism  and to  preserve  our  vision for  the                                                                    
     future, our  organization needs to  move away  from our                                                                    
     current  environment of  shared-purpose space  and move                                                                    
     towards   a  facility   [with]   dedicated  ...   space                                                                    
     [designed]  for  single  use functionality.    At  this                                                                    
     point,  we've   got  collections  stored   at  baseball                                                                    
     fields;  we've got  collections  stored  in tents;  and                                                                    
     this  environment is  not suitable  for rare  artifacts                                                                    
     that tell the Alaska story.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Now, at  the core  of our mission  is education.   Over                                                                    
     the  years  we've  had numerous  teachers  share  their                                                                    
     gratitude  for  how  the Valdez  Museum  [&  Historical                                                                    
     Archives] supports  their work.  Recently,  Sheri Beck,                                                                    
     a  fourth-grade teacher  with the  Valdez City  Schools                                                                    
     shared  with our  museum educator:    "I just  returned                                                                    
     from  a  National  Social  Studies  convention  in  New                                                                    
     Orleans.   I thought  of you so  many times  and wished                                                                    
     ... [we]  could be brainstorming  side by side.   I was                                                                    
     also reminded how fortunate we  are in Valdez and in my                                                                    
     partnership with  you to have a  local museum available                                                                    
     for help and  support.  Thank you.   Your recent lesson                                                                    
     with my  students using  artifacts and  primary sources                                                                    
     was such  a wonderful example  of what we heard  at the                                                                    
     conference as stellar teaching."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     So,  without  proper  care  and   housing  of  our  ...                                                                    
     museum's  collections and  artifacts, we  ... won't  be                                                                    
     able to continue our robust  education program.  I urge                                                                    
     this  committee to  speak up  for  all Alaska  museums;                                                                    
     we're just one example.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. RELAY concluded  her testimony by thanking  the committee for                                                               
its time,  consideration, and  service to  Alaska, and  she urged                                                               
its members to pass HB 166.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:17:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked Ms. Relay  how the Valdez  Museum &                                                               
Historical  Archives  construction  and operation  were  and  are                                                               
funded.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. RELAY answered  that the Valdez Museum  & Historical Archives                                                               
operates as  a 501(c)(3)  nonprofit organization.   She  said the                                                               
organization formerly  operated as  a department  of the  City of                                                               
Valdez but  in 1997  switched to  a public,  private partnership.                                                               
Currently,  the  City of  Valdez  supports  the Valdez  Museum  &                                                               
Historical  Archives  through  a community  service  organization                                                               
grant  that  is  60-65  percent   of  the  organization's  annual                                                               
operating  budget.   She said  the onus  is on  the nonprofit  to                                                               
raise the remaining 35-40 percent through fundraising efforts.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. RELAY  stated that it is  the mission of the  Valdez Museum &                                                               
Historical  Archives  to  preserve, present,  and  interpret  the                                                               
heritage and  culture of  not only Valdez,  but the  Copper River                                                               
Basin and Prince William Sound.   It serves the entire Valdez and                                                               
Cordova U.S.  Census area and  does outreach  programs throughout                                                               
the region.   She  reported that the  Valdez Museum  & Historical                                                               
Archives  has  over  75,000  rare objects  and  artifacts.    She                                                               
offered examples.  Ms. Relay  said the Valdez Museum & Historical                                                               
Archives tells the story of  its collections through exhibits and                                                               
educational  and public  programs;  it  has approximately  11,000                                                               
square  feet of  permanent  exhibit space  and temporary  exhibit                                                               
space [for  paintings], which is  funded primarily  with generous                                                               
support from  the Alaska State Council  on the Arts (ASCA).   She                                                               
said  the  Valdez  Museum  & Historical  Archives  has  a  robust                                                               
education  department,   with  a  museum  educator   that  brings                                                               
artifacts to students and hosts  groups of students at the museum                                                               
on a  regular basis.   She said  homeschooled children  in Valdez                                                               
consider the museum  their live history classroom.   She said the                                                               
public programs  are multigenerational and bring  viewers in year                                                               
round.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if  the Valdez Museum  & Historical                                                               
Archives would  have plans  for capital  projects, for  which the                                                               
state, under HB 166, would pick up half the cost.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. RELAY responded that the  Valdez Museum & Historical Archives                                                               
has completed a master interpretive  plan, which she described as                                                               
a pre-planning  document that assesses the  current situation and                                                               
considers options  to expand, renovate,  or build new.   She said                                                               
the  Valdez  Museum  &  Historical  Archives  currently  has  two                                                               
facilities.    The  most   cherished  exhibit,  "Remembering  Old                                                               
Valdez,"  is housed  in old  Army Corps  of Engineers'  warehouse                                                               
built in  1967.  She  explained that following the  Earthquake of                                                               
1964, Valdez was  moved four miles, and  "Remembering Old Valdez"                                                               
is a  scale model of  the original town  site.  The  warehouse is                                                               
going to  be razed  and a  sustainable solution  is to  merge the                                                               
museum's two locations into one  facility.  She said hopefully in                                                               
the next five to ten years this work will be feasible.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RELAY,   in  response  to  follow-up   questions,  said  the                                                               
estimated cost of the plans is  between $28 and $35 million.  She                                                               
added  that a  landowner has  offered land  and other  city-owned                                                               
parcels of land  are also being considered.  She  said the Valdez                                                               
Museum &  Historical Archives receives over  20,000 visitors each                                                               
year, the  majority of them  between Memorial Day and  Labor Day,                                                               
and  approximately  80  percent  of visitors  come  from  outside                                                               
Valdez.   There  is a  year-round  effort made.   Currently,  the                                                               
Valdez Museum &  Historical Archives is preparing  for its annual                                                               
student art  show, sponsored by Alyeska  Pipeline Service Company                                                               
and ASCA.   She said this  exhibit takes six months  of planning.                                                               
She  said   her  staff  comprises:     a  full-time   curator  of                                                               
collections  and exhibits  and a  full-time curator  of education                                                               
and  public  programs.    Funds  from grants  are  used  for  big                                                               
projects.   She offered examples.   She said the majority  of the                                                               
capital  expense goes  to housing  of  the collection,  including                                                               
heating,  electricity, staff  pay,  and security,  at  a cost  of                                                               
approximately $90,000 in utilities annually.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:29:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked if the Valdez  Museum & Historical                                                               
Archives charges admission.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. RELAY answered yes.   She related that currently support from                                                               
the  City of  Valdez through  a community  service organizational                                                               
grant  covers payroll  and a  minor  part of  utilities, and  the                                                               
museum  would  not be  able  to  function without  the  admission                                                               
charged,  which is:   $8  general, $6  seniors and  military, and                                                               
free  to  children and  members.    In  response to  a  follow-up                                                               
question, she estimated that  general admission, museum services,                                                               
and public programming fees  combined equal approximately $60,000                                                               
in annual income.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:32:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  said he  would  like  to know  what  the                                                               
state's role  has been in  capital funding of  museums, archives,                                                               
libraries, and preservation societies.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:32:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE ELDEMAR,  Director, Division of Community  and Regional                                                               
Affairs  (DCRA), Department  of  Commerce,  Community &  Economic                                                               
Development (DCCED), stated  that [HB 166] is  modeled after "the                                                               
library  grant statute."   She  mentioned designated  legislative                                                               
grants that get  funded through choices made  by the legislature.                                                               
She  said  the system  "under  this  statute" would  be  slightly                                                               
different:  The division would  receive applications, score them,                                                               
and  allocate  the   resources  based  on  the   score,  but  the                                                               
legislature would appropriate the  funds.  Ms. Eldemar continued:                                                               
"Like I said,  this is modeled after the library  program, but it                                                               
still remains  unfunded, so we  don't have anything to  report as                                                               
how that actual program ... will, in fact, work."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked Ms.  Eldemar  to  confirm she  was                                                               
saying that  it is  the library grant  program that  is currently                                                               
unfunded.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ELDEMAR answered  that is  correct.   She said  the division                                                               
accepted applications  and scored them,  and it is holding  on to                                                               
those applications.   She  directed attention  to language  in HB                                                               
166, on  page 1, lines  10-11, which  read:  "The  department may                                                               
not accept the application for  a grant under this section unless                                                               
the legislature  makes an appropriation  for the  grant program."                                                               
She said  this language would  prevent grantees from doing  a lot                                                               
of work until after the legislature has made the appropriation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked, "Has  there ever been grant funding                                                               
through the library grant program?"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELDEMAR answered no.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  surmised,  "And  this  program  for  the                                                               
museums is modeled after the library grant program."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELDEMAR answered that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked what the  state's role has  been in                                                               
the past for construction funding for libraries and museums.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ELDEMAR said  she could  research for  an answer  by looking                                                               
through former designated legislative grants.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  said that  would be helpful,  because the                                                               
proposed  legislation would  establish  a new  program of  public                                                               
support for museums  at 50 percent of the cost,  and he is trying                                                               
to  find  out what  the  precedent  has  been.   He  offered  his                                                               
understanding that  Ms. Eldemar  was saying  it is  primarily, if                                                               
not exclusively, through [designated] legislative grants.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELDEMAR responded that that is her understanding.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:36:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANE  LINDSEY, Member,  Museums Alaska;  Director, Juneau-Douglas                                                               
City Museum,  paraphrased her written testimony  [included in the                                                               
committee packet], as follows:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Good morning, my  name is Jane Lindsey,  I'm here today                                                                    
     as   a  member   of   Museums   Alaska,  a   non-profit                                                                    
     association  of  statewide  museum  professionals;  I'm                                                                    
     also the  director of  the Juneau-Douglas  City Museum.                                                                    
     I'd like to thank  Representative Parish for sponsoring                                                                    
     HB 166,  companion bill to  SB 7, sponsored  by Senator                                                                    
     Stevens.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The  need  for this  bill  is  demonstrated in  a  2014                                                                    
     McDowell survey for the Foraker  Group that studied the                                                                    
     needs of  Alaskan museums and  capital planning.   This                                                                    
     information  underscores  that   most  of  our  Alaskan                                                                    
     collections  are   in  buildings  never  meant   to  be                                                                    
     museums.   Three-quarters  of  the  respondents of  the                                                                    
     survey   identified  significant   capital  improvement                                                                    
     needs  within the  next five  years:   Exhibition space                                                                    
     expansion  or improvement;  increase in  facility size;                                                                    
     collections    storage    expansion;    and    security                                                                    
     improvements are the top priorities listed.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Building   expansions   and    new   construction   are                                                                    
     complicated projects  that take  years of  planning and                                                                    
     fundraising.    Outlined in the museum  profiles in the                                                                    
     McDowell survey, museum staff  and personnel are tasked                                                                    
     with  raising funds  at least  10 times  larger than  a                                                                    
     museum's  annual  budget.   These  ...  same folks  are                                                                    
     working  on   collections  care,   exhibits,  programs,                                                                    
     education,  and the  regular business  of caring  for a                                                                    
     facility and generating revenue to operate.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The core mission of what  we do is our collections; our                                                                    
     work   entails   preserving  objects,   photos,   [and]                                                                    
     documents of  the history  of Alaska,  and we  care for                                                                    
     these  in perpetuity,  and we  find meaningful  ways to                                                                    
     give  them   back  to  the  public   through  exhibits,                                                                    
     education, and research opportunities.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     HB  166  is  a  zero   fiscal  note  bill  for  capital                                                                    
     improvement  projects  if   and  when  funding  becomes                                                                    
     available.    Modeled   after  the  successful  library                                                                    
     construction  grant  program,  50 percent  of  proposed                                                                    
     costs   to   build,   expand,  or   renovate   existing                                                                    
     facilities  will  encourage  museums  to  assess  needs                                                                    
     within  their buildings  - such  as sustainable  energy                                                                    
     initiatives   for   specialized   environments,   which                                                                    
     museums need  - and develop  achievable goals.   It can                                                                    
     help  them create  financial  partnerships with  local,                                                                    
     non-profit,  state,  and   federal  granting  agencies,                                                                    
     which is what we regularly work with.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     ...  Governor  Walker's  proclamation that  2017  is  a                                                                    
     "Year of  History and  Heritage" ...  [recognizing] the                                                                    
     One Hundred  and Fiftieth anniversary of  Russia ceding                                                                    
     its  Alaskan   interests  to  the  United   States  ...                                                                    
     encourages us "to study, teach,  reflect upon our past,                                                                    
     and  apply its  lessons to  a brighter,  more inclusive                                                                    
     future."  HB 166 helps  us preserve Alaskan heritage so                                                                    
     that we may continue to study, teach, and reflect.                                                                         
     Thank you for your time and the work you do on behalf                                                                      
     of the state of Alaska and our fellow Alaskans.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:40:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER noted that Ms.  Lindsey had said HB 166 is                                                               
modeled  after the  successful library  grant program,  while Ms.                                                               
Relay  had said  there have  been no  legislative grants  through                                                               
that program.   He asked  Ms. Lindsey  if she could  describe the                                                               
operation  of  the library  grant  program  and explain  why  she                                                               
called it successful.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. LINDSEY answered that while she  does not know the details of                                                               
the program,  she does  know it resulted  in the  construction of                                                               
13-20 libraries  in Alaska,  all of  which have  come up  with 50                                                               
percent  matching grants.   She  offered  her understanding  that                                                               
these  libraries   worked  as  a   consortium.    She   said  her                                                               
understanding  - from  speaking with  people at  DCCED and  those                                                               
associated with  the libraries that  have received the  funding -                                                               
is that  it takes many years  to become "shovel ready,"  which is                                                               
the point a library  must be at in order to  apply for the grant.                                                               
She said the libraries have  gone through the process of ensuring                                                               
there is community consensus, the  necessary money is there, that                                                               
they  can  operate, building  the  community  resources that  are                                                               
widely used,  and being  energy efficient.   Ms.  Lindsey pointed                                                               
out that  Ms. Relay pays  $90 million annually and  operates from                                                               
an  antiquated building,  so  certainly it  takes  more money  to                                                               
preserve the environment and the  collections in it, but when Ms.                                                               
Relay is  able to  afford an  expansion, with  improvements made,                                                               
she will realize energy efficiency.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked Ms.  Lindsey if  she knows  how the                                                               
SLAM was funded.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. LINDSEY offered  her understanding that because  the SLAM was                                                               
funded through the  legislature, the money is  from the operating                                                               
budget rather than the capital  budget; therefore, the SLAM would                                                               
not  be eligible  for any  money that  became available  under HB                                                               
166.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER   talked    about   the   constitutional                                                               
obligation of  state to provide  public education and  pay 70-100                                                               
percent of the  capital costs of building  schools and associated                                                               
libraries.   He asked why the  state should pay half  the cost of                                                               
the museums in Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LINDSEY   answered  that  museums   are  charged   with  the                                                               
responsibility of  caring for public trust  heritage collections,                                                               
which  are open  to the  public and  owned by  and accessible  to                                                               
everyone.  She  noted that some money comes  from admissions, but                                                               
reemphasized  the charge  given to  museums, and  she stated  her                                                               
belief  that that  is a  worthy goal  for [the  benefit of]  "the                                                               
state of Alaska and every human being."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER said he does not disagree.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:44:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked if the Juneau-Douglas  City Museum                                                               
charges admission.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. LINDSEY  answered yes:  $6  for adults; $5 for  seniors; free                                                               
to children 13 and under; and that  charge goes down by $1 in the                                                               
winter, when the  museum finds community sponsors.   She said the                                                               
museum encourages  people to use  its facility and  its education                                                               
programs  are free,  so dollars  in revenues  do not  necessarily                                                               
match  the services  given.   She  said  the Juneau-Douglas  City                                                               
Museum brings in about $75,000  annually in admissions and public                                                               
programs  where it  is generating  revenue;  it has  a budget  of                                                               
about $425,000; but many of its programs are free to the public.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:45:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER opened public testimony on HB 166.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:46:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EVA  MALVICH, Director/Curator,  Yupiit Piciryarait  Museum, said                                                               
the  museum  is  run  by   the  Association  of  Village  Council                                                               
Presidents; it is located within  the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural                                                               
Center, which  is owned and  operated by the Kuskokwim  campus of                                                               
the University  of Alaska.   Ms. Malvich related that  the Yupiit                                                               
Piciryarait Museum  is the only one  in the region and  owns over                                                               
8,000  objects relating  to the  Yup'ik people,  including books,                                                               
audio  recordings,  paper  archives,  photos,  videos,  fine  art                                                               
objects, and objects related to  natural history.  She said there                                                               
are tools  the Yupik forefathers  used to  live off the  land and                                                               
water that are still vital  today in teaching children and giving                                                               
them a  sense of  their own  identity.  She  stated, "We  have to                                                               
tell our own story, according to  our own world view, and that is                                                               
something that cannot be underestimated."   She said HB 166 would                                                               
give  the   Yupiit  Piciryarait   Museum  a  chance   for  needed                                                               
renovation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MALVICH  shared that  the Yupiit  Piciryarait Museum  needs a                                                               
new heating,  ventilation, and air conditioning  (HVAC) system to                                                               
maintain humidity  at levels  consistent for  the care  of hides,                                                               
skins, and  ivory -  all objects in  danger of  permanent damage.                                                               
She said the current humidity  control is hurting the collection,                                                               
and a new  one will cost $125,000 to purchase  and $80,000 a year                                                               
to maintain.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MALVICH continued:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Our museum is  vital to educating our  own people about                                                                    
     making clothing,  tools, and  art.  We  do not  need an                                                                    
     outside expert to  tell us who we are.   We do not need                                                                    
     to travel to  the Smithsonian down states  to study our                                                                    
     own  objects.    By  running  a  museum  and  providing                                                                    
     education  opportunities  in  our region,  by  our  own                                                                    
     people, we have the knowledge  and means to sustain our                                                                    
     own Yup'ik culture.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MALVICH emphasized  the importance  of keeping  artifacts in                                                               
the region,  not in Fairbanks or  Juneau, which she said  are too                                                               
far away.  She said, "We need them  closer to home so that we can                                                               
continue  to teach  and learn  about our  rich Yup'ik  and Cup'ik                                                               
culture through studying our collection."   She said HB 166 would                                                               
help immensely by  giving her organization the means  by which to                                                               
secure  funds  for construction  and  renovation  of museums  and                                                               
cultural centers.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:50:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  referred to  Ms. Malvich's  comment that                                                               
the center  does not need to  leave Bethel to show  its artifacts                                                               
to  its  people.    She  mentioned  the  Smithsonian's  traveling                                                               
exhibits.    She  said  she has  heard  about  collections  being                                                               
returned  to museums  after being  borrowed  by other  countries,                                                               
states, and  organizations "after  decades of being  missing from                                                               
the state."   She asked, "If your museum was  the subject of such                                                               
a collection,  are there requirements  made by ...  the returning                                                               
organization  as to  the condition  of the  facility before  they                                                               
will return artifacts ... to a particular museum?"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:51:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MALVICH noted that the  Rasmussen Foundation loans artifacts,                                                               
but is not likely to loan  them to the Yupiit Piciryarait Museum,                                                               
because  of the  lack of  sufficient HVAC  that can  maintain the                                                               
necessary humidity level of between 30  and 50 percent.  She said                                                               
she does not bother to apply  because of that one condition.  She                                                               
related that the humidity in Bethel  ranges from 1 percent in the                                                               
winter to 50 percent in the  summer; maintaining a range of 30-50                                                               
percent  is a  challenge; and  the existing  fluctuation is  what                                                               
causes  damage to  the collection.   In  response to  a follow-up                                                               
question, she said there is  one piece that has already sustained                                                               
damage:   a  shaman's shawl  that was  found inside  a coffin  in                                                               
1971,  and while  in storage  it  split in  half.   She said  the                                                               
museum would like to get it  repaired, because it is the only one                                                               
of its kind in the world,  but it would get damaged again without                                                               
the upgrade to the HVAC.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:54:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE  WRINGSMUTH,  testified in  support  of  HB 166.    She                                                               
shared that  Alaska history is  important to  her.  She  said she                                                               
has:   taught history  at the Chugiak-Eagle  River campus  of the                                                               
University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA);  served as president of the                                                               
Alaska  Historical  Society;  and  curated  historical  exhibits.                                                               
Furthermore,  she currently  organizes  two lecture  series at  a                                                               
library  in  Mountain View  and  at  Chugiak  High School.    Ms.                                                               
Wringsmuth talked about the power  of historical wisdom and how a                                                               
society  can erode  if history  is not  "shared, understood,  and                                                               
valued by  everyone."  She said  Alaska has more than  60 museums                                                               
that  provide  cultural  tourism   and  educational  programs  to                                                               
visitors.   She  said these  museums are  caretakers of  Alaska's                                                               
culture and major contributors to the state's economy.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. WRINGSMUTH  related that  as a  professor of  Alaska history,                                                               
the museum  assignments she  gives her  students afford  them the                                                               
opportunity  to conduct  original research  at the  undergraduate                                                               
level.   She said only a  handful of people have  the opportunity                                                               
to  take  Alaska  history  in school,  and  she  emphasized  that                                                               
museums are  one of the  few places  where residents, as  well as                                                               
the many visitors  to the state can learn about  Alaska.  Far too                                                               
many  of those  museums face  deterioration and  are in  critical                                                               
need  of  renovation, which  Ms.  Wringsmuth  characterized as  a                                                               
threat to Alaska's history as well  as to its future.  She stated                                                               
her  belief  that  "museums  help   to  cultivate  Alaska's  next                                                               
generation."   She emphasized  there is  a need  for visionaries.                                                               
She  quoted former  Governor  Walter J.  Hickel  as having  said,                                                               
"There is  no vision, no hope,  no future, no agenda  for Alaska,                                                               
if  your only  ideology, if  your only  philosophy, if  your only                                                               
cause  is  to cut  the  budget."    She  concluded, "As  we  face                                                               
unprecedented financial  challenges, we cannot forget  from where                                                               
we came.   We must  remember the voice  of the people  and foster                                                               
our  newest, youngest  visionaries."   She  expressed thanks  for                                                               
support of HB 166 as a means to invest in Alaska's future.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:58:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER said he hears  frequently that museums are                                                               
an important cultural repository and  educational tool.  He asked                                                               
Ms.  Wringsmuth if  she thinks  it would  be appropriate  for the                                                               
state to fund museums as part of Alaska's educational mission.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. WRINGSMUTH answered, "Absolutely."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if she thinks  museums should share                                                               
in  the funding  stream that  the public  school system  receives                                                               
from the state.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. WRINGSMUTH answered  that is a difficult  question to answer.                                                               
She clarified that while she  recognizes the value and reciprocal                                                               
nature  of  [schools]  and  museums,  she  cannot  speak  to  the                                                               
financial side.  Notwithstanding that,  she said she can envision                                                               
the  two working  together.    She said  there  are  so many  new                                                               
residents coming  to Alaska  who do not  have the  opportunity to                                                               
learn  Alaska's history  and become  dependent on  "these popular                                                               
narratives  that may  not even  have much  reality in  the past,"                                                               
which  she  said   is  dangerous.    She   talked  about  aligned                                                               
partnerships of  historical societies, K-12,  university systems,                                                               
and museums  working toward a  common purpose, but said  she does                                                               
not  see that  happening right  now, because  "we're all  kind of                                                               
fighting over the small pot of  money that does exist."  She said                                                               
other states, for example, Minnesota,  have adopted this model of                                                               
cooperation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER  noted   that  Chugiak   has  a   strong                                                               
historical society.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. WRINGSMUTH concurred and related  that efforts are being made                                                               
to draw visitors in to learn about the area's rich history.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:02:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA  LUCKY, Volunteer  Docent, Anchorage  Museum, testified  in                                                               
support of  HB 166.   She said  the matching grant  program would                                                               
help  build, renovate,  expand, and  preserve Alaska  collections                                                               
that are held in the public  trust and support creative vision of                                                               
the  institution.    She  said   exhibition  space,  increase  in                                                               
facility  size,   collection  storage  expansion,   and  security                                                               
improvement are listed  among the top priorities  of the proposed                                                               
legislation.   She  said,  "I  like that  the  program takes  the                                                               
politics out of  applying for a grant."  She  opined that support                                                               
of  HB  166   would  be  an  investment  in   the  well-being  of                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LUCKY  stated  that the  Anchorage  Museum  connects  people                                                               
through  its   programs;  through  workshops,   new  experiences,                                                               
exhibitions, and events; it expands  people's views of the world.                                                               
She said  just after the  museum's latest expansion, it  opened a                                                               
"Star Wars"  exhibit that  was "a perfect  segue between  the old                                                               
and the  new."   The exhibit brought  in parents,  children, Star                                                               
Wars fans, and people who had  never been to a museum before, and                                                               
there  were many  hands-on displays  to  challenge the  visitors'                                                               
imaginations.   She  offered  further details.    She quoted  the                                                               
director of  the Anchorage Museum,  Julie Decker, as  saying, "We                                                               
think museums matter more now than  ever before.  In an age where                                                               
everything is  on line,  visitation rates  to museums  around the                                                               
world are rising.  Museums are  not storehouses of the past; they                                                               
are  an active  record of  where we  come from,  who we  are, and                                                               
where we are  going.  Museums activate curiosity  about the world                                                               
in  which  we  see and  come  to  know  ourselves  as part  of  a                                                               
continuum  of  shared  human  identity."   Ms.  Lucky  urged  the                                                               
committee to support HB 166.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:05:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LUCKY,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Saddler, surmised that the funding  for the original construction                                                               
and the expansion of the  Anchorage Museum was from the Rasmussen                                                               
Foundation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:06:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN LUNDEEN, Member, Board of  Directors, Pioneer Air Museum,                                                               
identified  critical  infrastructure needs  of  the  museum.   He                                                               
indicated that  the museum lacks bathroom  facilities and depends                                                               
on a neighboring  facility to be open, and HB  166 would "broaden                                                               
potential  funding avenues"  to  take  care of  such  needs.   He                                                               
related that another  need is for a restoration  facility for the                                                               
proper preservation,  restoration, and,  in some  cases, assembly                                                               
of the  museum's historical aircraft.   For example, he  said the                                                               
museum owns a 1929  Swallow - one of only 200  built - that needs                                                               
to be assembled.  Mr. Lundeen  stated that the Pioneer Air Museum                                                               
has been operating  on a self-sustaining basis,  and he indicated                                                               
that the museum  can continue on its own after  it receives state                                                               
funding.  He encouraged support for HB 166.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:09:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETE HAGGLAND,  Curator, Pioneer  Air Museum, testified  that the                                                               
museum is  housed in a building  that was never designed  to be a                                                               
museum and  lacks space for displays,  restoration, and archives.                                                               
He  said the  archiving and  cataloguing takes  place with  state                                                               
grants.  He related that the  museum is open from Memorial Day to                                                               
Labor Day.   He echoed Mr. Lundeen's comments  regarding the need                                                               
for restrooms, adding that there  are not even facilities for the                                                               
hired help.  Mr. Haggland said  the Pioneer Air Museum charges an                                                               
entrance fee  to the public, but  not to school children  or "the                                                               
disadvantaged."  He said the  museum receives 9,000 paid visitors                                                               
per year, not  counting school children and runs  classes for the                                                               
school district.   He said HB  166 has the potential  to help the                                                               
museum take  care of some of  its dire needs.   He stated support                                                               
for  HB 166,  and he  opined that  the history  of all  of Alaska                                                               
needs to be preserved and protected for people to see.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:13:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES  LOUNSBURY  testified  that  he  lives  in  Alaska  in  the                                                               
summertime and, after receiving a  gift of land, converted a cook                                                               
house into a  museum.  He said  he does not charge  an entry fee.                                                               
He related  that this year will  be the second he  has hosted the                                                               
Pioneers of Alaska,  Igloo Number 8, from Fairbanks,  Alaska.  He                                                               
stated  support of  the [Pioneer  Air] Museum  in Fairbanks.   He                                                               
shared that his whole family is  in aviation; both his father and                                                               
mother flew planes;  and his mother was the first  female to solo                                                               
in Fairbanks.  Mr. Lounsbury  remarked on the ample storage space                                                               
at  the Alaska  Aviation Heritage  Museum, in  Anchorage, Alaska,                                                               
and said it  would be great if Fairbanks could  "get a little bit                                                               
of  that stuff"  in  order to  have room  for  the planes  stored                                                               
there.   He mentioned that he  had played music at  an opening of                                                               
an air  museum last year.   Mr. Lounsbury concluded  by revealing                                                               
that he is a fourth-generation Alaskan.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:15:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAURIE   STUART  MORROW,   Executive   Director,  Pratt   Museum,                                                               
testified  in support  of HB  166.   She said  museums fill  many                                                               
roles:  drawing in tourists  in the summer and bolstering support                                                               
for local, small  businesses; and serving as  gathering place for                                                               
community discussion  in the  winter.   She said  museums provide                                                               
venues  for artists  and scientists  to "share  their discoveries                                                               
and epiphanies for the benefit of the community."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. STUART MORROW  said museums such as the  Pratt are structured                                                               
as  nonprofit  organizations  that  share their  mission  to  the                                                               
community,   and  because   their  focus   is  on   outreach  and                                                               
accessibility,  they  don't  usually  have money  left  over  for                                                               
renovation or new construction.  She  said at least 36 museums in                                                               
Alaska, including  the Pratt Museum, have  identified significant                                                               
capital improvement  needs, which means that  over 30 communities                                                               
in the state  are concerned about being able  to provide adequate                                                               
services for the collections provided to them by the public.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. STUART  MORROW remarked  that as  a centennial  building, the                                                               
current structure housing  the Pratt Museum is 50  years old, and                                                               
despite two add-on renovations over  those 50 years, it lacks the                                                               
space  necessary to  "adequately care  for cultural,  historical,                                                               
and  natural  history  collections  from one  generation  to  the                                                               
next."   She  said  the museum  has been  working  on a  cultural                                                               
campaign for over 10 years, with  the hope of creating a building                                                               
that will  protect the heritage  and provide the  space necessary                                                               
for  a   community  to  gather  and   "co-create  more  resilient                                                               
community relationships."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. STUART  MORROW said the [proposed]  museum construction grant                                                               
program  would provide  a mechanism  for museums  in Alaska  that                                                               
often  lack tax  dollars  or a  for-profit  structure to  request                                                               
support in  continuing to be  caretakers of  "communities' valued                                                               
history,  culture, and  ongoing dialogue."   She  concluded, "For                                                               
this reason, we request passage of HB 166."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:18:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER, after  ascertaining that there was  no one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 166.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:19:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE said he has  gone to the Pratt Museum and                                                               
the museum in Valdez.   He said [museums] bring "what's important                                                               
to that area."   He characterized HB  166 as a worthy  cause.  He                                                               
credited Representative Saddler  as having said that  "it is part                                                               
of education."   He stated  that as  a person gets  older, he/she                                                               
realizes  "just how  important this  is."   He expressed  delight                                                               
that the proposed legislation is before the committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:19:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  said he  thinks [HB 166]  is great.   He                                                               
remarked  that it  could be  a while  before the  state [has  the                                                               
financial  means]  to  be  able  to  provide  the  money  for  an                                                               
appropriation.   In response to  a concern he said  was expressed                                                               
to him  via e-mail, he clarified  on the record that  under Title                                                               
14,  which  is referenced  in  HB  166,  museums are  defined  as                                                               
"organized  and permanent  public  institutions"; therefore,  any                                                               
funds appropriated could not be used for private collections.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:20:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  said as  testimony reflected,  there are                                                               
collections that  are in danger.   She opined that at  some point                                                               
the  legislature  will  have  to  figure  out  how  to  make  the                                                               
appropriations.    In  the  meantime, she  said  she  thinks  the                                                               
legislature needs to allow museums  around the state to "get this                                                               
structure  in place"  and begin  to  move forward,  so that  when                                                               
funding does become  available, "they can begin to  do the work."                                                               
She expressed support of HB 166.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[HB 166 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 166 Sponsor statement.pdf HCRA 3/21/2017 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 3/23/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 166
HB 166 lttrs supporting.pdf HCRA 3/21/2017 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 3/23/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 166
HB 166 Fiscal Note CED.pdf HCRA 3/21/2017 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 3/23/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 166
HB0166A.PDF HCRA 3/21/2017 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 3/23/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 166