Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

04/09/2014 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 197(EDC) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               HB 333-MUSEUM CONSTRUCTION GRANTS                                                                            
9:20:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GATTIS announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 333, "An  Act establishing a  museum construction                                                               
grant  program   in  the  Department   of  Education   and  Early                                                               
9:20:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB  HERRON,  Alaska State  Legislature,  briefly                                                               
introduced HB  333 as  prime sponsor and  then deferred  to state                                                               
museum facility staff for further presentation.                                                                                 
9:23:07 AM                                                                                                                    
EVA   MALVICH,  Director/Curator,   Yupiit  Piciryarait   Museum,                                                               
Association of  Village Council Presidents, testified  in support                                                               
of HB 333  paraphrasing from a prepared statement,  which read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]: in packet                                                                              
     The  Yupiit  Piciryarait  Museum,  a  tribally-run  and                                                                    
     managed  museum,  is the  only  museum  for the  Yukon-                                                                    
     Kuskokwim  Delta region,  and  is roughly  the size  of                                                                    
     Oregon.   We support  HB 333, the  enabling legislation                                                                    
     to support  construction or  renovation of  museums and                                                                    
     cultural centers around the state.                                                                                         
     Our  area is  home  to Yup'ik  and  Cup'ig Eskimos  and                                                                    
     Athabascan Indians.   We've  lived here  for millennia,                                                                    
     and our  museum collection  is full of  objects showing                                                                    
     how  we  lived over  time,  valuable  objects that  are                                                                    
     priceless and  are full of  information.  In  fact, Dr.                                                                    
     Paul John, from Toksook Bay,  is on the museum steering                                                                    
     committee.   He is  a respected elder,  who lived  at a                                                                    
     time  when people  moved from  camp to  camp, following                                                                    
     the food  source.  He wants  the kids from our  area to                                                                    
     be  able to  study the  tools  we used,  how they  were                                                                    
     made, and  how they were used  to catch food.   He said                                                                    
     by doing this, we can become 'real' Yup'iks again.                                                                         
     In  addition,  we want  people  to  know we  are  still                                                                    
     relevant.   Although we live  in a western  society, we                                                                    
     want  people  to  know  we are  still  here,  and  have                                                                    
     adapted over  time.  Our  livelihood may  have changed,                                                                    
     but  we  still  value  our  subsistence  lifestyle  and                                                                    
     continue to live off the land.   Our fish traps are now                                                                    
     made out of chicken wire  instead of wood, but we still                                                                    
     use them  in winter  to catch fresh  fish.   Our drums,                                                                    
     traditionally  made  from gut  skin,  are  made out  of                                                                    
     plastic or airplane fabric, but  it is still a drum and                                                                    
     is used for Yup'ik dances.                                                                                                 
     The facility that houses  the Yupiit Piciryarait Museum                                                                    
     is owned  and operated by  the Kuskokwim Campus.   When                                                                    
     it first  opened in 1996,  the museum staff  had access                                                                    
     to two  offices, a large  storage room, in  addition to                                                                    
     our  gallery  and back  rooms.    The Kuskokwim  Campus                                                                    
     staff took over  one office, and a  large storage room,                                                                    
     therefore  we are  running our  program with  much less                                                                    
     space than  originally planned.  In  addition, the HVAC                                                                    
     system, which controls our  relative humidity, was shut                                                                    
     off  over 12  years  ago by  our  landlord, because  in                                                                    
     their  words,   it  was  too  expensive   for  them  to                                                                    
     maintain.   Our  collections of  ivory and  animal skin                                                                    
     are susceptible to irreversible  damage because we have                                                                    
     no control over our environment.                                                                                           
     Our  organization, the  Association of  Village Council                                                                    
     Presidents, have been working  closely with the Nunaleq                                                                    
     Project in Quinhagak.  Nine  thousand objects have been                                                                    
     uncovered so  far from  a sod  house that  was ambushed                                                                    
     during the  bow and arrow  war.  The objects  have been                                                                    
     brought over to Aberdeen,  Scotland, so the staff there                                                                    
     can  catalog the  objects.   The people  from Quinhagak                                                                    
     have  stated  that  they  cannot  afford  to  keep  the                                                                    
     objects  in their  community, and  would  like them  in                                                                    
     Bethel, instead.                                                                                                           
     In addition,  the Lower  Kuskokwim School  District and                                                                    
     AVCP have recently entered into  an agreement, in which                                                                    
     teaching material  for Yup'ik language  curriculum will                                                                    
     be collected by school staff  and sent to our museum to                                                                    
     be archived in our facility.                                                                                               
     The people from  this region should not  have to travel                                                                    
     to  Fairbanks or  Juneau to  view objects  from his/her                                                                    
     hometown, the  cost of an  airline ticket  from village                                                                    
     to Bethel, to Anchorage and  Juneau or Fairbanks is sky                                                                    
     high, not to mention the need  to rent a car, and hotel                                                                    
9:27:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MALVICH added that to travel from her home to visit the                                                                     
State Museum represents a cost of $1,300.00, she then continued                                                                 
     With this  enabling legislation,  we can  build another                                                                    
     facility and  become a federal  repository.   With this                                                                    
     designation,  we would  be  eligible  to house  objects                                                                    
     that are  taken out of federal  lands in our area.   We                                                                    
     would  be able  to  take  care of  objects  in our  own                                                                    
     region,  and with  more staff,  become  a resource  for                                                                    
     archaeology  projects  around  our region.    With  our                                                                    
     coast  lines  eroding,  we know  there  are  historical                                                                    
     sites  in danger  of becoming  lost to  the Bering  Sea                                                                    
     every year.                                                                                                                
     Please support HB 333.   This enabling legislation will                                                                    
     allow our museum to grow  to meet our customer's needs.                                                                    
     We will  be able to  provide the right  environment for                                                                    
     our priceless museum objects.   The collection would be                                                                    
     housed in  Bethel, much closer  and easier  access than                                                                    
     Juneau or Fairbanks.                                                                                                       
9:28:25 AM                                                                                                                    
JANE LINDSEY, Advocacy Chair, Museums Alaska, testified in                                                                      
support of HB 333, paraphrasing from a prepared statement, which                                                                
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     Good morning, my  name is Jane Lindsey, I  work for the                                                                    
     Juneau-Douglas City  Museum and  am here as  an elected                                                                    
     board member  of our  statewide group,  Museums Alaska,                                                                    
     where I serve as the advocacy chair.                                                                                       
     I  would  like  to   thank  Representative  Herron  for                                                                    
     sponsoring HB  333 and all of  you for the work  you do                                                                    
     on  behalf  of  the  state of  Alaska  and  our  fellow                                                                    
     As a board member of  Museums Alaska, yearly our museum                                                                    
     community meets  at an annual conference  to share best                                                                    
     practices in  preserving, interpreting,  and exhibiting                                                                    
     our cultural history.                                                                                                      
     In Alaska,  we have over 65  museums, cultural centers,                                                                    
     historic houses and sites that  have been operating for                                                                    
     many years in their  communities as anchor institutions                                                                    
     that  care for  our primary  Alaskan cultural  history,                                                                    
     deliver  education  services,  research  opportunities,                                                                    
     exhibit   local  art   and   culture;  provide   public                                                                    
     programs,   and  generate   revenue  through   cultural                                                                    
     A 2014 McDowell  survey for the Foraker  Group has been                                                                    
     made  available  to  the  committee  that  demonstrates                                                                    
     critical  infrastructure  needs for  our  institutions.                                                                    
     Of the  36 museums contacted,  27 or ¾  have 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 rated                                                                    
     among the  top four priorities for  these institutions.                                                                    
     These  are  all  specialized   needs  for  museums  and                                                                    
     cultural  centers  that  care   for,  and  exhibit  our                                                                    
     Alaskan collections.                                                                                                       
     Building expansions and  new construction are difficult                                                                    
     undertakings to  fund raise for and  as demonstrated in                                                                    
     the  Museum profiles  in the  McDowell survey,  many of                                                                    
     these  museums have  limited staff  to fundraise  while                                                                    
     attending to other full-time duties.   Museum staff and                                                                    
     personnel are often tasked with  raising funds that are                                                                    
     equal to or double the size of their yearly budgets.                                                                       
     HB333  provides  a  pathway for  a  growing  number  of                                                                    
     institutions that will need to  realize funding for the                                                                    
     health  of  our  museums,   cultural  centers  and  our                                                                    
     Alaskan collections.                                                                                                       
     Like  the   state's  model  for   library  construction                                                                    
     projects, HB  333 can provide  a ranking  mechanism for                                                                    
     these critical  capital projects while  partnering with                                                                    
     funding  formulas from  local, non-profit,  and federal                                                                    
     granting  agencies.   A system  like this  can build-in                                                                    
     forward thinking in  sustainable energy initiatives for                                                                    
     our   museums   that   desperately   need   specialized                                                                    
     Museums Alaska  looks forward to  providing information                                                                    
     to the committee as needed  and answering any questions                                                                    
     that you may have. Thank you for your time.                                                                                
9:31:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX commented that the small museums are an                                                                   
excellent draw for tourism.                                                                                                     
9:31:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   DRUMMOND   questioned   how   artifacts   become                                                               
distributed around the world.                                                                                                   
MS. MALVICH responded that there are 800 people.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND remarked  that a  world class  museum in                                                               
Bethel will be a good resource and promote tourism in the area.                                                                 
9:32:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX asked  why  the artifacts  go to  Scotland                                                               
rather than elsewhere in Alaska.                                                                                                
MS. MALVICH answered  that when artifacts were  discovered it was                                                               
the Scotland museum that responded with help.                                                                                   
MS. LINDSEY added that the  infrastructure needs do not allow the                                                               
in-state  museums   to  accept   challenges  of  this   size  for                                                               
9:34:58 AM                                                                                                                    
LANI HOTCH,  Executive Director,  Jilkaat Kwaan  Heritage Center,                                                               
noted  the educational  and visitor  organizations  that she  has                                                               
worked with in her capacity  to illustrate the integral part that                                                               
the Heritage Center  plays in the community.  She  said funds are                                                               
put to good use and  stretched for maximum results, and recounted                                                               
the construction phases of the  facility and the need for further                                                               
funding needed to finish the inside  and provide heat.  The small                                                               
communities are  in need of  museum/cultural center  support, she                                                               
finished, stressing that  it is a responsibility  to preserve the                                                               
local history.                                                                                                                  
9:41:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD   asked  what  private   sector  funding                                                               
sources are being approached.                                                                                                   
MS.  HOTCH described  the  fund raising  efforts  and the  budget                                                               
components.    Other  funding sources  are  sought,  but  without                                                               
legislative  backing, sponsors  such as  the Rasmuson  Foundation                                                               
will   not  pledge   without  an   understanding  of   the  state                                                               
allocation.  She described  other outreach efforts/proposals that                                                               
have been  tried or  are planned, but  again, matching  funds are                                                               
often a requirement.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD asked how much  has been provided to date                                                               
by  the state,  and for  further clarification  on the  costs for                                                               
this   fiscal  year   as   well  as   for   future  needs   since                                                               
sustainability is a concern.                                                                                                    
MS.  HOTCH  answered  $3.5  million  for  this  fiscal  year  and                                                               
$750,000  for  ongoing costs,  possibly  more.   She  offered  to                                                               
provide  the information.    Regarding  sustainability, she  said                                                               
once  completed,  that is  the  expectation.   Partnerships  with                                                               
tourism agencies are being developed.                                                                                           
9:49:19 AM                                                                                                                    
LACEY  SIMPSON, Director,  City of  Ketchikan Museum  Department,                                                               
stated support for  HB 333 and stressed the  state obligation for                                                               
the artifacts that  are held in public trust.   She cited several                                                               
deficits that exist in facilities,  including humidity control or                                                               
ability  to  display  artifacts.   Many  smaller  facilities  are                                                               
housed in  buildings that  were never designed  as museums.   The                                                               
need is  growing and  the state has  been generous.   Communities                                                               
are enriched by having museums.                                                                                                 
9:52:50 AM                                                                                                                    
EMMIE SWANSON, Valdez Museum and  Historical Archive, offered her                                                               
strong  support  for   HB  333.    The  Valdez   museum  faces  a                                                               
deteriorating infrastructure and adequate  space for the program,                                                               
she  said.   She  highlighted a  few key  points,  such that  the                                                               
Valdez Museum  occupies two buildings, with  the primary location                                                               
being  a  centennial  building  that  is  inadequate  for  museum                                                               
services and programs.   She focused on the  primary concern, the                                                               
second location,  which is a  warehouse that the U.S.  Army Corps                                                               
of Engineers  (U.S. ACE) constructed  in the mid-60s  when Valdez                                                               
was rebuilt after the 1964  earthquake that was never intended to                                                               
be  a museum  facility.   Still, this  warehouse houses  a 75,000                                                               
piece collection,  archives and  contains a small  theatre space.                                                               
With the need  for specialized equipment for  display and climate                                                               
control, she stressed the importance  for financial support.  She                                                               
described the situation as it  exists in Valdez, stating that the                                                               
Valdez  museum  is  over  capacity   for  the  storage  of  large                                                               
artifacts and no room exists to bring in new artifacts.                                                                         
MS.  SWANSON  related  that  some artifacts  are  stored  in  two                                                               
locations  maintained   by  the   City  of  Valdez's   Parks  and                                                               
Recreation department  as well as noting  several large artifacts                                                               
in  outside  storage  are  exposed to  the  elements.    Further,                                                               
several  large artifacts  are currently  stored  in the  workshop                                                               
adjacent  to the  "Remembering Old  Valdez"  exhibit and  several                                                               
more  are housed  in a  small building  near the  softball field,                                                               
behind the community  college.  She emphasized  that the cultural                                                               
heritage should stay in regional  locations.  In 2012, the Valdez                                                               
Museum Board  adopted a five-year strategic  plan, which included                                                               
the  need for  a  major  capital improvement  program.   This  is                                                               
rooted in the goal to  continue to preserve the valuable cultural                                                               
resources for  communities of Valdez, Copper  River Basin, Prince                                                               
William  Sound, and  the state.    Most of  Alaska's museums  are                                                               
small in  size and budget and  museums all have a  difficult time                                                               
fundraising  for capital  improvements.   It's also  difficult to                                                               
ask for  donations in this  small community of 4,000  people with                                                               
over 70  nonprofit organizations, yet  the museum does  manage to                                                               
provide  over 45  percent  of its  budget  through donations  and                                                               
grants.   These grants are  strictly program related  and support                                                               
education  and are  not supportive  of operations  or facilities'                                                               
management.  She thanked members  for hearing concerns of museums                                                               
in Alaska.   She hoped the  committee will support passage  of HB
9:56:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHELE MILLER,  Pratt Museum,  testified in  support of  HB 333,                                                               
paraphrasing  from a  prepared statement,  which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     My name is  Michele Miller, and I serve  on the Museums                                                                    
     Alaska Board  of Directors and work  at the nationally-                                                                    
     recognized Pratt Museum here in Homer.                                                                                     
     I speak  in support of  House Bill 333,  establishing a                                                                    
     museum construction grant program.                                                                                         
     The  Pratt Museum  serves as  an anchor  institution on                                                                    
     the  Kenai Peninsula,  educating  children and  adults,                                                                    
     and contributing to our community's  sense of place and                                                                    
     identity  through   history,  art,  and   culture;  and                                                                    
     through  exploration of  the natural  environment. Like                                                                    
     museums all  over Alaska, the Pratt  contributes to the                                                                    
     state's   economy  through   employment  and   cultural                                                                    
     Thank  you, Rep.  Herron for  your sponsorship  of this                                                                    
     bill, which  provides the structure for  establishing a                                                                    
     systematic  approach  to  prioritizing  museum  capital                                                                    
     project funding requests in Alaska.                                                                                        
     The Pratt Museum is one  of the 50 [percent] of museums                                                                    
     in Alaska currently fundraising for a new facility.                                                                        
     With  the   passage  of  this  legislation   into  law,                                                                    
     construction projects  will be funded by  the merits of                                                                    
     their projects,  prioritized by their ability  to match                                                                    
     state funding,  and where they are  in the construction                                                                    
     Similar to the library  construction statute, which has                                                                    
     helped build  14 new libraries  through $50  million of                                                                    
     awards, this legislation will allow  museums to plan to                                                                    
     protect valuable collections well into the future.                                                                         
     Again,   I   thank   Representative  Herron   for   his                                                                    
     sponsorship of  House Bill 333,  and I look  forward to                                                                    
     working  with  his  office   on  the  legislation  this                                                                    
[HB 333 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 197 Letter of Support Griffin.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 197
HB 197 Letter of Support Sullivan.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 197
HB333 Sponsor Statement 28-LS1466.U.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB333 Informational Document - McDowell Group Infrastructure Needs Study.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB333 Informational Document - CHAMP Partners.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB333 Support Letter - City of Ketchikan Museum Department.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB333 Support Letter - Museums Alaska.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB333 Support Letter - Pratt Museum (Homer).pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB333 Supporting Document - Museums Alaska.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 333
HB 197 ver O.pdf HEDC 4/9/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 197