For the past five months Tiffany Brunson has been serving as the interim
executive director for the Baranov Museum, but now she can finally drop
one of the words in her job title. Brunson has officially been hired as
the executive director and began working in that capacity on May 1.
“I’m really actually honored to get this position, I think it’s a great
opportunity and I really love the history of Kodiak. I think it’s got a
really fantastic history.”
The museum, which is operated in part by the Kodiak Historical Society,
began its search for a new director back in early December, when former
director Katie Oliver left to take a similar role with the Kodiak Arts
At the time, Brunson was working as a gallery host at the museum. She
had the education and experience for the position, and knew it was
something she wanted to pursue.
While the Erskine House, the building that houses the museum, has a rich
history in Kodiak, Brunson is relatively new to the island. She moved
here from Idaho a year ago and has spent majority of her time here with
the museum. She said the past year has definitely been a great
experience, and she has certainly learned a lot.
“Oh yeah, definitely learned tons and tons about the history. The book
that the museum put out in 2008, ‘A Legacy Built to Last,’ by Sue
Jeffrey, was really helpful, at least starting as a gallery host and
then as the director in getting sort of a comprehensive overview of
Kodiak’s history and the place of this building within it. But even so
it’s been a lot of history to learn. Especially since there’s so many
people in Kodiak who remember that history still, and who want to share
that. So a lot of listening to people.”
Brunson said the museum is currently in the process of a permanent exhibit redesign, which was started by Oliver.
“She got the grant for that from the Institute of Museum and Library
Services with funding from the Alaska State Museum and some, hopefully
funding, from the city as well to support that. So that’s a major
project in line for the museum at the moment that we’re sort of in the
midst of getting community feedback and doing the design work for the
permanent exhibit. So what I’m seeing with my role is to continue to
sort of guide that project and then to find funding for the actual
exhibit building. Because we have the funding for the design, but we
don’t have the funding to make that design a reality."
In the meantime, the museum is gearing up for the summer tourism season.
Brunson said it will switch to summer hours after Crab Festival on
Memorial Day weekend.
Meanwhile, the Alutiiq Museum will begin its search for a new executive
director soon. Current Director Sven Haakanson will say goodbye to the
organization in June. Likewise, Discover Kodiak will also have a
position to fill as current director Janet Buckingham will be leaving as