Many contribute to successful history conference

Response to April’s sesquicentennial event, “150 Years: Kenai Peninsula History Conference,” was overwhelmingly positive. The conference sold out, and the schedule was packed with activities.

The conference would not have been possible without huge support from its inception. The peninsula partners Kenai Peninsula College, Kenai River Campus (Soldotna) and the Pratt Museum (Homer); grants from the Alaska Historical Commission and the Kenai Peninsula Historical Society; and the volunteer steering committee members Roger Pearson (Nikiski), Michael Hawfield (Homer) and Willard Dunham (Seward) were essential to the project’s very existence.

The conference owed its content and spirit to the major input of extraordinary people and organizations.

Top-notch experts both local and from as far away as Russia made it a world-class learning experience. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to keynote speaker Andrei Znamenski; to presenters Mira Bergelson, Alan Boraas, Tom Bundtzen, Debra Corbett, Aron Crowell, Mike Dunham, Dorothy Gray, Joel Isaak, Brent Johnson, James Kari, Janet Klein, Wayne Leman, Jeff Meyers, David Nordlander, Roger Pearson, Jackie Pels, Daria Safronova-Simeonoff and Greg Weissenberg; to panelists McKibben Jackinsky, Tom Kizzia and Marge Mullen; and to the people in the audience who participated in questions and discussions.

Volunteer committee heads Sammy Crawford, Dorothy Gray and Carroll Knutson respectively organized the field trip, the book fair and the lunches for both days. The Jabila’ina Dancers, Moscow Nights Trio and poet Dave Thompson provided delightful entertainment. Expert audio-visual technical support came from Paul Gray of Exploring Alaska Native Voices, Jenny Neyman from KDLL 91.9 FM and Spring Sibayan from Kenai Peninsula College.

The generous support and coordination of our sponsors is much appreciated: the Alaska State Library Historical Collections, the City of Kenai, the Kenai Historical Society, the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the borough assembly, the Peninsula Clarion, River City Books, the Russian American Colony Singers, Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska (ROSSIA) and the Soldotna Historical Society.

We also thank the following individuals and groups for their aid and support: Father Thomas Andrew, Jo Antonson, Jean Ayers, Dale Bagley, Scott Bartlett, Jennifer Bartolowits, Fenya Basargin, Michael Bernard, Judith Bittner, Paula Bute, Catherine Cassidy, Viktoria Chilcote, Terrence Cole, Diane Converse, Tom Dalrymple, Helen Dick, Caitlan Dowling, Eugene Dusek, Jane Fuerstenau, Brian Gabriel, Joe Harris, June Harris, Sean Hoffbeck, Sara Hondel, James Hornaday, Benjamin Jackinsky, Barbara Jewell, Sandra Johnston, Colleen Kelly, Suzie Kendrick, Hena Konev, Ksenia Kuzmin, Lam Lavea, Ann Letzring, Angela Linn, Steve Lloyd, Zlata Lund, Deedie McKenzie, Phil Miller, Ryan Miller, Kari Mohn, Laurie Morrow, Will Morrow, Peggy Mullen, Mike Navarre, Bill Nelson, Marion Nelson, Paul Ostrander, Sergey Pashkevich, Jim Rea, Celina Robinson, Jim Simard, Michael Skinner, Pete Sprague, Carmen Stephl, Damon Stuebner, Ryan Stuive, Tiffani Swanson, Kitty Thompson, Gary Turner, Virginia Walters, Tammie Willis and Jan Yaeger; Alaska Cab, Alaska Christian College, the Alaska Historical Society, Alaska Marine Expeditions, Alaska’s Sesquicentennial Commemoration (Sitka), Diamond M Ranch, Kachemak Selo School, Kasilof Regional Historical Assn., Kenai Fine Art Center, Kenaitze Indian Tribe, KPC Student Union, Odie’s Deli, Printer’s Ink, PRL Logistics, Razdolna School, Seldovia Village Tribe, Soldotna Inn and the State of Alaska’s Office of History and Archaeology.

When amazing people work together, amazing things happen for the community. Note that many of the groups that made the conference possible are registered nonprofits that rely on donations or are local historical and cultural groups looking for new members. Please support them if you value this type of work.

Although the conference itself is over, those of us involved look forward to sharing its results with peninsula communities later this year via the Internet and a published book of conference proceedings.

As the project director, I extend my personal thanks to everyone who attended and hope that this will just be the first of many events to encourage discussion of the Kenai Peninsula’s rich cultural and historical heritage.


Shana Loshbaugh, project director

150 Years: Kenai Peninsula Historical Conference