2011 Anne Ray Interns

“Artwork chronicles our story, giving us wisdom for the future. We owe it to our ancestors to respect it properly.”—Kelsey Potdevin

FY 2011–2012 marked another successful year of supporting two interns through the generous contribution of the Anne Ray Charitable Trust. The internships focus on training recent college graduates and junior museum professionals interested in furthering their professional museum experience and enhancing their intellectual capacity for contributing to the expanding field and discourse of museum studies. The interns worked in the areas of registration, collections management, education, and programming. In addition, each of the interns presented talks on their most recent research at SAR’s colloquium series.

Jennifer McCarty

Prior to coming to SAR, Alaska Native Jennifer McCarty’s museum experience included working as a culture host at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, office manager at the Kodiak Maritime Museum in Kodiak, and program specialist at the Arctic Studies Center for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Most recently, she worked as the assistant curator at the Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo in Anchorage, where her responsibilities included assisting with collections management, registration, education, and programming.

Jennifer McCartyJennifer McCarty2011–2012 Anne Ray Intern
Jennifer McCarty
Kelsey PotdevinKelsey Potdevin2011–2012 Anne Ray Intern
Kelsey Potdevin

McCarty says that the Anne Ray internship provided her with the additional skills, experience, and credentials to help advance her museum career. While at SAR, she spent half of her time on collections registration projects and the other half on education programming projects. Her colloquium presentation in May, “Iñupiaq Ilitqusiat: Those Things that Make Us Who We Are”, explored Inupiaq values through the study of pre-contact stories from northwest Alaska. McCarty is of Iñupiaq heritage.

Kelsey Potdevin

Kelsey Potdevin, an Alaska Native of Athabascan heritage, graduated cum laude from Colby College with a bachelor’s degree in history. According to Potdevin, “As a history major, I chose courses that explored the heritage of peoples in North America and around the world. This has inspired me to look back, protect my own culture, and give it the academic dignity I have seen other cultures receive.”

In 2010, Potdevin volunteered at the Alaska State Museum, where she contributed to updating the museum’s website and assisted with paperwork for loans and acquisitions. It was here that she became aware of how cultural artwork affects the present and future. She notes, “Artwork chronicles our story, giving us wisdom for the future. We owe it to our ancestors to respect it properly.”

With a new cultural heritage center being planned in her hometown of Juneau, Potdevin would like to qualify for a position there so that she can help understand and protect the past. She understands that to be eligible, she will need to gain more experience and earn a graduate degree. The Anne Ray internship helped her achieve this goal in terms of preparing her for graduate work in museum studies and furthering her museology skills.

While at SAR, Potdevin worked to reach these goals by spending half of her time on collections registration projects and the other half working on education programming projects. Her colloquium presentation in May, “Gatekeepers and Traders in Alaska’s Northwest Interior 1800–1870”, examined nineteenth-century northern Athabascan gatekeepers and their use of Alaska Native trade networks. This fall she will begin work on her PhD in history at University of Iowa.

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