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Video technology brings Anchorage exhibit to Wrangell library

This week, you can travel to the Anchorage museum without going further than the Wrangell public library.

KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver has more.

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Aaron Leggett is the special exhibits curator at the Anchorage Museum. And he’ll be giving a presentation on a very special exhibit this week.

“I’m one of the co-curators on an exhibition here at the Anchorage Museum called ‘The Dena’ina Way of Living.’ It’s the first comprehensive exhibit ever done on the Dena’ina Athabascans—the indigenous people of Southcentral Alaska. I myself am Dena’ina,” says Leggett.

He’ll be sharing the objects and stories of the exhibition as well as online resources and tools for educators.

And here’s the catch—he’ll be in Anchorage at the exhibit and his audience will be in libraries across the state.

Kay Jabusch is the director of the Irene Ingle Public Library. She says the library is using technology to span the distance.

“About three or four years ago, the library became a part of what’s called OWL, which stands for Online With Libraries. Basically it’s a program to implement quite a few different technologies in the public libraries around the state,” says Jabusch.

A portion of the grant provided for new videoconferencing equipment. Jabusch says the people who attend the presentation will be active participants.

“They will be taken into the library’s meeting room because it is a videoconference, so it is presented on a large screen. And it is going to be presented from the Anchorage museum and there will be other communities joining the videoconference,” says Jabusch.

Curator Leggett says a videoconference doesn’t quite give the same sensory experience of actually being in the museum’s exhibit. But his presentation combined with the interactive exhibit online is a good way to engage with a wider audience.

“I’m excited that more people will be able to at least become aware of the exhibition and the resources that are available,” says Leggett.

Libraries and museums sometimes suffer the same stereotype of being static. But Leggett says they are often the places at the forefront of new technology.

“The one thing that libraries, archives, and museums all have in common is that they contain the object. It’s not just about the virtual experience. I think that’s a component of it, but it’s bringing things to life. I think it’s about the book, it’s about the photograph, it’s about the object. I think certainly using technology to do that is one great way to get people to get to experience it in a different way. And I think also, kids that are a lot younger than I am, rapidly identify with technology and the world is changing when it comes to that,” says Leggett.

Jabusch says the library is trying its best to bridge that expanse.

“We try to keep ahead of the game. We try to have what people are going to want maybe even before they know they’re going to want it,” says Jabusch.

After Leggett’s presentation, there is a planned Q and A session with audience members from the various communities.

The presentation on the Dena’ina Way of Living is scheduled for Wednesday, January 8th, at 7pm in the Irene Ingle Public Library. For more information, call the library at 874-3535.

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