Installation explores change on different scales
JULY 2012 - A new installation in the University of Alaska Museum of the North’s Gallery of Alaska introduces a familiar gallery. Changing Alaska emphasizes the importance of collections and research to understanding change on vastly different scales, from seasonal cycles to those that occur over eons.
“Museums exist to collect, preserve, and research objects,” says the museum’s Head of Production Roger Topp . “If a photo is worth a thousand words, an object is worth a million."
For example, the exhibit displays a pair of ptarmigan to illustrate how they adapt to the changing seasons and an ancient tree from North Pole, Alaska to show change over millennia. At the center of the installation is a short globe-projected film that looks at research into global climate change.
“If researchers know change is happening at specific locations, they can focus their efforts now and then again in ten years to learn more about what we are seeing from orbit,” Topp said. “Museums have always been good at letting us look back; they are also poised to let us look forward.”
Change is constant. It happens to things as small as a fish hook and as large as continents. Wherever you stand, there is another Alaska nearby, down the road, over the near hills, and waiting in the months to come. In perhaps no other place does the change of the seasons rival the change of history.
Changing Alaska will open July 2012 in the Gallery of Alaska at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Support for the exhibit was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the “NASA’s Eyes on the Arctic” grant.