More than one person in town has asked why we do art when we are a history museum. Our mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the history, art and unique blending of diverse cultures within the Chilkat Valley region. We work hard to balance art and history in our offerings. We created a significant new local history exhibit this spring, The Haines 50. Creating that exhibit took three people nearly five months of full-time work. Art exhibits are usually created and installed by the artists. Acquiring local art, which we are able to do because Rasmuson Foundation provides funds, helps to represent this moment in time when we have the highest number of artists per capita than elsewhere in the U.S., just as uniforms and menus paint a picture of an active Fort Seward and labels and ledgers illustrate when canneries ruled our area. We acquire more historical items than art. Recently we added Gate Valve #1 from the Haines Pipeline, White Fang items, and documents from an early 20th century tourist. We are working hard to expand public access to our world-class collection. Installing compactor shelving significantly improved researcher access. Grant money is currently being sought to pay for an archivist to digitize our impressive archival collection, making it accessible to anyone with an internet connection. We are the smallest of the seven accredited museums in Alaska, and a gem and treasure of which Haines is justifiably proud. Yes, we do history. And we do it well.

Helen Alten, Director, Haines Sheldon Museum