150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History Conference

Exhibits & Entertainment

DRAFT (as of March 14, 2017)




1860s Alaska Traveling Exhibit -- The state Office of History and Archaeology is loaning us 8 large banners with vivid and accurate images and text about Alaska during the decade of change 150 years ago.  You can preview these beautiful banners at  http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/oha/1860sAlaska

Memorabilia display -- maps, books, antiques, commemorative tokens, and items from the 1967 Alaska Centennial will be exhibited in the KPC Commons, thanks to volunteers sharing their collections.


Live music during the lunch -- A special appearance of the folk music trio Moscow Nights, all the way from Russia.  The musicians are performing full concerts in other parts of Alaska this spring, but will make a special appearance for us at no additional cost, courtesy of the Anchorage-based Russian American Colony Singers.


9 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- Book Fair in the Kenai Peninsula College Commons (McLane Building).  The fair is open to the public -- even those not attending the conference.  It is a fund-raising event for ROSSIA (Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska), a registered nonprofit that preserves and restores Alaska's historic churches.  One of the main beneficiaries has been the landmark Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai's Old Town.  Authors, publishers, nonprofits, and area historical societies will be on hand to offer books, autographs, and information.  If you want to rent a table or to assist, contact organizer Dorothy Gray at Dvgray@acsalaska.net.

Original poetry during the lunch -- Kenai poet Dave Thompson will read his poem "The Lure of Alaska.”

Contact us at KenaiPeninsulaHistory@gmail.com or (907) 460-7554.

150 Years:
kenai peninsula history

For the first time in a generation, friends and residents of the Kenai

Peninsula will come together to explore its unique history and cultural

diversity.  The 150th anniversary of the US purchase of Alaska from Russia

presents an opportunity to learn about the dramas of the past, their

legacies in the present, and their lessons for the future.

The conference will focus on the 1800s, particularly the period around 1867,

when rule of Alaska transferred from the Russian American Company to the

United States military.  It will examine the ongoing interactions among the area’s Alutiiq/Chugach, Dena’ina, Russian, and U.S. cultures.  Specific topics, to be determined by participants’ interest, may include: resource use and stewardship (such as fur trapping, mining, and salmon fisheries), the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, the story of the garrison of Fort Kenay, and preservation of traditional knowledge (such as indigenous languages, Russian foods, and local foods and medicines).

Scheduled for April 2017, the conference will include presentations about Alaska and local history, plus community activities for all ages.  The main conference presentations will be at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna on Friday and Saturday April 21-22.  Tie-in activities are being planned for other communities and schools around the peninsula.


The nonprofit conference relies on volunteers.  Presenters are welcome, but so are people of all ages and background who can donate time to make the conference realize its potential.  Tasks may include: telling civic groups about the conference, sharing history and culture with school children, hosting field trips, helping participants with transportation, set up, take down, filming events, and serving refreshments during breaks.  Please contact us at the email below if you would like to be on our mailing list and get involved.

Stay tuned for updates.  This winter we will issue a call for speakers and for community activities linked to our themes of history and cultures.  At the beginning of 2017 we will firm up the agenda and set up registration.

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