As so often happens at conferences in small places, WAAC 2009 took on a bit of a feel of a retreat. Lots of good info was shared and warm connections made at various meals, social activities and events outside the talks.
Wednesday was the day before the talks began, but the day after the Angels project wrapped up. Yosi Pozeilov gave a workshop on digital documentation to many members of the Alaska State Division of Libraries, Museums and Archives, and then turned around that evening and gave a terrific public lecture on his personal experiences with pinhole camera photography. What a long day! For those who don’t know him, Yosi is the senior photographer at the Conservation Center of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and married to conservator and WAAC board member Marie Svoboda. I heard that Yosi got to spend some time in the studio of Ron Klein during his visit to Juneau. Ron Klein is perhaps Juneau’s leading mad scientist-genius type, and was making collodion prints the day Yosi visited. I think Paul Gardinier, the exhibits designer at the Alaska State Museum, introduced them. Of course it was the perfect matchmaking thing to do, but Scott and I were running in other directions and Paul just graciously stepped in and made the connection. That kind of thing is a big part of what makes it great to live and work in a place like Juneau. People look out for you. Speaking of that, many WAAC conference attendees spent all day Wednesday helping with recovery from the flood at the Alaska State Archives. Instead of shopping, sightseeing, and generally enjoying a bit of vacation in exotic Alaska, these fine souls were getting pruny fingers helping save wet documents, maps, blueprints and photos. The opening reception for the conference was held at the Alaska State Museum just before Yosi’s public lecture on pinhole cameras. In the seemingly mundane photo above, Scott Carrlee stands next to Linda Thibodeau, the director of the state division of Libraries, Museums and Archives, to make some opening remarks. What you can’t see in the photo is how badly Scott choked up and almost cried when he described the outpouring of help from WAAC attendees in mitigating the disaster. Conservators were present providing key help and leadership in the three most crucial days of the disaster. Some of their spouses came and helped, too. Nobody got paid. Nobody expected anything in return. They just rose to the occasion. That kind of thing gets Scott every time. (you should see him when he watches “Its A Wonderful Life.” )
Scott wasn’t the only one touched by the outpouring of help. The Post-It on this jar of coveted, rare, homemade Nagoonberry Jam says, “Karen, a token of my admiration for your amazing extra work! Fondly, Mary.” Mary Irvine is part of the Alaska State Museum security and visitor services staff, who put in a lot of extra time herself during the Archives emergency and also helped pick up WAAC attendees at the airport.
The first day of talks on Thursday was followed with another reception, this one at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. There was a performance by the dance group Yees Ku Oo, led by Carolyn Noe. The director of the City Museum, Jane Lindsey, generously split the cost of the honorarium with WAAC. She didn’t have to do that, but it was a classy move. Although the photo above is blurry, maybe you can get an idea of how hard that guy is pounding on that box drum. I saw him unfurl a length of supple chamois-like leather from around his hand after the performance, but I didn’t see any other padding or glove there to protect his hand. My God, the sound that drum made!
Here are my winnings from the silent auction. A Golden “paint samples” tee shirt! Look at this cool triceratops pencil sharpener where the hole for the pencil to go in also accomodates a key that winds up the dinosaur and he walks! You lift his head to remove the shavings, which is his only flaw…I wish you lifted the tail instead. And I won a cute bottle of “Ven Dinero,” an odd- smelling oil that is supposed to attract money into your hands. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Dinner was at the Thane Ore House, a local rustic lodge-like restaurant that serves amazing all-you-can-eat salmon and halibut. It is on the water, not far from Sheep Creek where salmon were spawning. At one point, our dining hall was almost empty because everyone HAD to go see the spawning salmon. Music was provided by the Great Alaska Bluegrass Band, my favorite band in Juneau, and they played several encores to an appreciative crowd.
The end of the banquet marked the end of the conference, but I heard that the boat trip “Adventure Bound” to see glaciers, seals, sea lions and whales out in Tracy Arm was loaded with conservators the next day. Seems like August 2009 was the busiest month ever in the Carrlee household…on Sunday evening Arlen Heginbotham and Leslie Rainer generously spotted us some childcare so Scott and I could go out an a date and toast the conference finally being over!