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When it reopens following an extensive renovation of its permanent exhibit space on May 4, the Baranov Museum will have a new name that better reflects its mission, according to a news release from the Kodiak Historical Society. 

The Historical Society’s board of directors voted to change the name to Kodiak History Museum it better conveys the broad Kodiak history that is encapsulated at the museum. The Baranov Museum name, according to the release, misrepresents the museum’s mission and place in the community as it doesn’t focus on Russian history alone.

“Our hope is that the community will receive this change as an important step toward being inclusive and even-handed in our telling of Kodiak stories as we endeavor to embody the Historical Society’s core values of innovation, excellence, inclusiveness, engagement and community,” said Meghan Kelly, the Kodiak Historical Society board chair.

The decision follows dozens of community gatherings over the last 10 years as the Historical Society board and staff asked specific questions about the nonprofit’s work in — and impact on — the community.

The museum’s $750,000 permanent exhibit renovation began in September following nine years of planning and fundraising. The funding includes a $175,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation awarded in July and a $205,000 grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust in June. 

The rebranding effort includes a new look and feel for the organization, including a new logo incorporating the key joint, a technique used in the construction of the Russian-American Magazin. 

Symbolically, the key joint and new logo represent the building, as well as the Kodiak community. It brings people, stories and time together with each overlap carefully fit together, explains the release.

“It is essential to seek out and make space for new stories as our community grows: stories of immigrants, fishermen, United States Coast Guard servicemen and women, cannery workers, youth and to reflect our community’s growth through the eras,” said Kodiak Historical Society Executive Director Sarah Harrington in the release. “We recognize the importance of supporting every child who comes for a field trip in making a meaningful and significant personal connection at the museum. 

Harrington added that “everyone deserves to be recognized as part of our collective story.” 

The museum will open on May 4 at 1 p.m. 

As part of the re-opening, the Historical Society will include the unveiling of a new bronze outdoor sculpture by Alutiiq artist Perry Eaton, a performance by the Alutiiq Dancers, the opening of the Kodiak Community Stitch exhibit and a ribbon cutting ceremony before opening the doors to the new, renovated exhibits.

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