Sitka Historical Museum Opens “The Sitka Photo Shop Studio: Picturing Our Past” Exhibition [May 1, 2015]


Kristy Griffin
Curator of Collections and Exhibits | Sitka Historical Society & Museum
(907) 747-6455 or

Sitka Historical Museum Opens New Exhibit
 The Sitka Photo Shop Studio: Picturing Our Past Exhibition on view at the Sitka Historical Society & Museum
May 1, 2015-July 15, 2015


[Sitka, Alaska] May 8, 2015

The Sitka Historical Society has opened its latest exhibit, The Sitka Photo Shop Studio: Picturing Our Past.

The exhibit explores the photographic legacy left by the Sitka Photo Shop Studio. Much more than a place for tourists and locals alike to get their film developed, the Studio, which operated from 1924 to 1972, boasted the largest collection of postcards and photos for sale in Alaska. The exhibit delves into the history of the Studio and displays many of the striking images that chronicle the people, buildings, history, and ever-changing landscape of Sitka.

A truly collaborative effort, the exhibit includes the invaluable contributions of Ruth Culp, Jim Dangel, and Walter Dangel – all family members of Photo Shop Studio owner, Luella Smith. The Fishermen’s Eye Gallery, Holland America Line, and House of Liquor each sponsored themed galleries designed to tell stories of Sitka’s past through images of the Photo Shop Studio. Teal West hosted the grand opening event for the exhibit at Homeport Eatery, location of the former Photo Shop Studio, while local photographer, William Greer, took old time photos of guests.

The event also premiered a new documentary, “Stories of a Strong Family”, produced specifically for the exhibit. Directed by Owen Kindig, produced by Kristy Griffin, and edited by Arthur Parker, the film brings the history of the Photo Shop Studio to life as family members Ruth, Jim, and Walter share their memories of Luella Smith. This film will run in the museum daily throughout the exhibit.

The exhibit was conceived by Curator of Collections and Exhibits, Kristy Griffin, designed and curated by Kristy Griffin and Rosemary Carlton, and produced by an exhibitions team comprised of SHS, Inc. Board members, museum staff, volunteers, and interns. The first gallery introduces the history of the Photo Shop Studio in Sitka and includes numerous artifacts and antique cameras donated to the museum by Luella Smith’s son-in-law, Walter Dangel. Other highlights include a gallery that glimpses into the rich history of tourism to Sitka; a gallery that highlights the importance of fishing to Southeast Alaska; and a gallery that captures the changing face of downtown Sitka, including select images from the Shop’s well-known annual series of photos of Sitka taken from Mount Verstovia.

This is the final exhibit the Sitka Historical Society & Museum will produce before closing in preparation for renovations to Harrigan Centennial Hall. While the new SHS Museum is under construction, staff will be busy designing all new exhibits which will open in 2017. During the temporary closure, the Society will work hard to continue to offer exciting and educational programing to the community. Stay up to date about the latest program events by visiting Facebook.

Visitor Information
Sitka Historical Society & Museum
330 Harbor Drive
Sitka, AK 99835

9AM-5PM Monday-Friday
9AM-4PM Saturday

General Admission: $3.00

Available by appointment, including school groups (please schedule a week in advance with
Kristy Griffin, Curator of Collections & Exhibits)
(907) 747-6455

About the Sitka Historical Society and Museum
The Sitka Historical Society is a 58 year old organization which operates the Sitka Historical Museum. The Society’s mission is to preserve and promote the events, stories and artifacts of the human history of the Sitka area for the inspiration, education and benefit of the public and future generations. The Sitka Historical Society has amassed one of the most diverse and largest collections in Sitka comprised of over 8,000 three-dimensional artifacts, several hundred paintings, prints, and examples of fine art, a spectacular collection of nearly 25,000 historic photographs, and more than 100,000 archival documents, all ranging from the 1740s until the present day.