Connecting people to Alaska’s diverse history, art and cultures by supporting the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum
Rev. A.P. Kashevaroff standing outside the Alaska Historical Museum. Alaska State Library, Historical Collections. Michael Z. Vinokouroff Photograph Collection. ASL-P243-3-007
APK: Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff building
FoSLAM: The Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum nonprofit organization
SLAM:The (Alaska) State Library, Archives and Museum
Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum HISTORY
People started collecting art and artifacts for the Alaska Territorial Library/Museum before June 6, 1900, when it was established by an Act of Congress, but those objects weren’t available to the public until 20 years later when the collection was moved out of the governor’s closet and warehouse in Sitka where it had been stored to Juneau’s Arctic Brotherhood Building.
Recently appointed as the Alaska Territory’s librarian and museum curator in 1919 by Alaska Territorial Governor Thomas Riggs, Jr., the soon-to-be St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church priest, Father Andrew Petrovich Kashevaroff (1863-1940), shared the artifacts with everyone, especially children.
Kashevaroff was the “true founding father of the state museum,” said former Senator Dennis Egan. The Russian-Alutiiq priest, a well-known speaker, writer, and translator, acquired hundreds of Russian and thousands of Alaska Native artifacts for the library/museum and founded the Alaska Historical Society. Humorist Will Rogers wrote, “Father Kashevaroff . . . has made a great study of Alaskan customs, relics, languages, its history . . . if ever a fellow fit in a museum, it’s him in this one.”
To celebrate the Alaska purchase centennial, Juneau citizens voted for a sales tax to fund a state museum building in 1967. The Friends of the Alaska State Museum organization was born in 1968. After almost fifty years, the Alaska Legislature voted to combine the previously separated state library, archives, and museum (SLAM) in a new facility and named it the Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) building after its “true founding father.” It opened June 6, 2016. The Friends became the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum (FoSLAM) and in 2018 celebrated its Fabulous Fiftieth birthday.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, FoSLAM raises funds to support library, archives and museum programs; educates the public; hosts special events; provides honoraria for guest speakers and artists; receives grants and donations, purchases artifacts and fine arts; funds scholarships/internships; and recently created a Forever Fund to ensure the collection is never again stored in a closet.
Annual Friends’ reports provide additional historical information.