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Alaska at 150: The Big Land and the United States

All-Day Program with Alaskan-style Lunch

In Collaboration with the Alaska State Society

Saturday, September 16, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Code: 1B0218

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Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, Alaska

On March 30, 1867, Russia and the United States signed the Treaty of Cession agreeing to the sale of the Alaskan Territory. The United States gave the government of Russia a check for $7.2 million and took possession of 586,412 square miles of land, which became the Alaska Territory, and later, in 1959, would become America’s 49th state. Hear fascinating stories about the Alaska Purchase from experts during this entertaining and informative all-day program.

10 a.m.  The Smithsonian in Alaska: 150 Years and Counting

William Fitzhugh, director of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center, sheds light on the crucial role the Smithsonian and its pioneering Alaska researchers played in making Alaska part of the U.S.

11 a.m.  Cartography and Art: Early Explorations of Alaska

Historian John Cloud addresses the art, science, and demanding work of mapping Alaska’s coastline and vast interior.

12 noon  Lunch with Alaskan salmon and beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company

1 p.m.  William Seward: The History and Politics of the Alaska Purchase

Lee Farrow, professor in the Department of History, Auburn University, Montgomery, and author of Seward's Folly: A New Look at the Alaska Purchase, talks about the purchase’s implications for foreign policy and international diplomacy at the time.

2 p.m.  Native Alaska: Then and Now

William L. "Willie" Hensley, a well-respected tribal elder and businessman–also known by his Iñupiaq (Inupiat) name Iggiagruk–draws on his book Fifty miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People to depict native Alaskans and the challenges they face protecting their traditional way of life.

Special thanks to the following organizations: Alaska Historical Society, Alaskan Brewery, Armstrong Oil, GCI, Kootznoowoo, and McKinley Capital Management.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)