Ethel Montgomery Scholarship Fund

The Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives & Museum have announced the availability of the Ethel Montgomery Scholarship application. Applicants for the $2,500 scholarship must be enrolled in an Alaskan federally-recognized tribe and pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in museum studies.

The Ethel Montgomery Scholarship Fund was established in the 1990s to assist university-level Alaska Native students majoring in museum studies. Ethel Montgomery was one of the first docents at the Alaska State Museum. She was adopted into the Kaagwaantan Wolf Clan and became a very active member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood. One of her dreams was to help young Alaska Natives become curators and directors of museums that celebrate their cultures. The combination of her love for museums and for the Native people, contributed to her establishment of this scholarship.

Applications may be obtained by emailing Jackie Schoppert, Chair, Ethel Montgomery Scholarship Committee at [email protected] (907-321-5652) or Marjorie Menzi, [email protected] (907-723-9156). Applications must be completed and mailed by November 30.
Ethel M. (Clayton) Montgomery (1896-1989), one of the first docents at the Alaska State Museum and longtime member of the Friends, was adopted with the name Naats Klaa into the Kaagwaantaan Clan in the Wolf moiety by Jennie Thlunaut in Haines in 1964 and became an active member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood. She founded the Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative Association (ANAC), was active at Northern Light church, the American Legion, Salvation Army, and a 50-year member of P.E.O., a philanthropic and educational organization. Rotary’s Woman of the Year, Ethel Montgomery was recognized by the governor and legislature for her longtime community service. She died at 92. 

Ethel Montgomery, ASL-P348-767
Meet 2016 Ethel Montgomery Scholarship recipient,  Natalie Wadle
Natalie Wadle, a graduate student in Museum and Field Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Is the recipient of the Friends’ Ethel Montgomery Scholarship for 2016-2017, an award of $4,000. Established in the 1990s to assist university-level Alaska Native students majoring in museum studies, the scholarship requires applicants be enrolled in an Alaskan federally recognized tribe. 

Natalie, a member of the Port Lions Native Tribe and Afognak Native Corporation, graduated from Kodiak High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Iowa State University. She plans to earn a Museum Studies certificate from Harvard Extension School in 2017 and a M.S. in Museum Studies from University of Colorado in 1918. She’s worked at several museums, including Alaska State Museum in Juneau in 2014, the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, and Colorado University’s Museum of Natural History and Art Museum. She received scholarships from Colorado University, Afognak Native Corporation and Koniag Education Foundation and works as a graduate assistant.

Natalie wrote: (in her application and emails)

I am very grateful to be receiving the Ethel Montgomery Scholarship for the year of 2016… These funds will also offset the cost of my attending CU (University of Colorado) throughout the 2016-2017 academic year which will help alleviate my concerns about finding additional funds to cover the cost of tuition not covered through other scholarships or the GA (graduate assistant) work that I do for the university. I am extremely thankful that there is this scholarship available to me to assist in my efforts to pursue an advanced degree in Museum Studies. I want to thank the board of the Friends of the AK State Library (Archives and Museum) for selecting me for this award, it will help in my continuing education and allow me to further my experience while at CU. 

I believe that museums are a vital part of society in preserving the past and being places for social commentary. Without museums, many of the objects housed in them would only be in private collections or state repositories. Museums give these objects a place to be seen and individuals a way to interpret them in historic contexts as well as arranged around current issues. Being able to see and work with these objects… (ensures) they are available for future generations.”

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