Father Gerasim in a playful mood outside his home on Afognak, 1920s. Photo Baranov Museum
The Baranov Museum will pay tribute to a 20th
century Russian monk from August until November with a new exhibit entitled:
Father Gerasim, Monk and Artist. The exhibit features historical
artifacts and photographs about the life of The Reverend Gerasim
Schmaltz, who was a pastor on Afognak Island before moving to Spruce Island
Oliver is the director of the Baranov
Museum and offers this
history about Schmaltz.
-- (Father Gerasim 1: :43 sec "Father Gerasim was ... and also his monastic legacy.")
Oliver said that in going to Spruce Island,
Schmaltz fulfilled a prophecy that Saint Herman had made a hundred years
earlier which said a monk fleeing worldly glory would come to the area and
serve in fasting and prayer.
-- (Father Gerasim 2: :17
sec "So he's a very
... many, many Kodiak people.")
Schmaltz also performed
baptisms. Mary Jane Longrich was baptized by him as a baby, and is semi
responsible for the creation of the exhibit in his honor.
approached Oliver a year ago about a series of photographs she had taken 25
years ago on Spruce
Island that offer a
glimpse into the life Schmaltz led there.
-- (Father Gerasim 3: :52 sec "I went to Spruce Island
on this ... By his home.")
The 12 photographs Longrich took
detailing the inside of Schmaltz's home are the centerpiece of the exhibit,
which Oliver says is also an art exhibit. The museum used the photographs as an
opportunity to compile community artifacts about Schmaltz to put on the exhibit
and has borrowed artifacts from the Alutiiq
Museum, Saint Herman's
Seminary and even a number of items donated by Schmaltz himself in the early
The Baranov Museum
has a busy weekend coming up. There will be an opening reception for the
exhibit Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The museum is also hosting the 8th
annual Picnic on the Green Sunday. The Air Force Band of the Pacific will play
at Sargent Park around noon and community member are invited to come picnic on
the grass and participate in other museum sponsored activities. There will be
free admission both days.