Thursday, May 7, 2015

Naming the SLAM

On Tuesday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed SB63, which officially names our new building, affectionately called the SLAM, after two great Alaskans. The building's formal name will be the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum.

Governor Walker signing SB63 at the Alaska State Library Historical Collections. Behind him from left to right: legislative aide Bianca Carpeneti, Education & Early Development Commissioner Mike Hanley, Deputy Director of Libraries, Archives, and Museums Bob Banghart, Mayor Merrill Sanford, Representative Sam Kito III, Senator Dennis Egan, and legislative intern Heather Evoy.

From 1919 until his death in 1940, Father Kashevaroff served as the first curator and librarian of the Alaska Historical Museum and Library. Although the institution was created by an act of Congress in 1900, it didn't open its doors until 1920, and Father Kashevaroff personally greeted the visitors.

Reverend A.P. Kashevaroff standing outside the Alaska Historical Museum

Father Kashevaroff was uniquely positioned to lead the fledgling institution. As a Russian Orthodox priest with Alaska Native heritage, Kashevaroff had a deep interest in Alaska's history and culture. His strong relationships with Alaska Native and Russian American communities allowed him to acquire the objects that form the foundation of the Alaska State Museum's collections and to advocate for the library and museum.

The Reading Room on the second floor will be named for Representative Richard Foster of Nome, who served in the Alaska legislature from 1989 until his death in 2009. Representative Foster was a Democrat who often caucused with the Republicans, and was well-known for crossing party lines to benefit his community. He was also a great user of the Alaska State Library, and would walk from the Capitol to the library and the archives to read newspapers and research Alaska's history.

Representative Richard Foster
Alaska State Library Historical Collections Portrait File

We look forward to opening the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum and Representative Richard Foster Reading Room next spring. We'll be honored to work in a place bearing the names of these two men and we hope to see you there, helping us write the next chapter in the State Library, Archives, and Museum story.

More on the naming of SLAM:

No comments: