ETHEL MONTGOMERY Scholarship Fund
In partnership with the First Alaskans Institute, the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives & Museum provides funds to the Ethel Montgomery Scholarship program, which was established to assist university-level Alaska Native students majoring in museum studies. Recently, it has been broadened to include funding for an intern at the museum. Ethel Montgomery, one of the first docents at the Alaska State Museum and longtime member of the Friends, was adopted into the Kaagwaantaan Wolf Clan and became an 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.
Andrea Cook, pictured below, was one of the early recipients of the scholarship. In addition to learning basic job skills and the fundamentals of museum work, she also designed and completed a project to enhance the museum’s collections records. She chose 11 objects with connections to Hydaburg, her hometown. Unbeknownst to her at the outset, her Great Great-Grandfather, John Wallace, made three of these items. Over the course of Cook’s summer internship, she dug deep within the library and archives file, as well as reached out to her family in Hydaburg to learn more about John Wallace. Ultimately, Cook saw profound parallels between his life and her own journey. Her experience culminated with a presentation at UAS’s Power Privilege Symposium in November 2019. Video of Cook’s riveting presentation, “Toward Indigenous Collections Management at the Alaska State Museum” and community comments and questions are available on the UAS YouTube station.
Photo: Scholarship recipient and intern Andrea Cook is pictured weaving a cedar hat.
Ethel M. (Clayton) Montgomery's Story
Ethel M. Clayton was 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.
Photo: Ethel Montgomery ASL-P348-767