After an exhibit is installed, one might think that the work of the guest curator is done. More often than not, this isn’t the case. The curator will continue to work with the museum’s education and public programs staff to assist with elements being developed for school kits, Family Day activities, and even possible special events like lectures, book signings, or any other ideas they might come up with.
I’m doing a bit of that right now, but what is truly captivating me and illustrates the continuing story that we’ve highlighted in Denali Legacy is the Denali 2013 Centennial Climb. As I sit in the climate-controlled comfort of my office at the Museum, a group of descendants of the 1913 team are hauling gear along Muldrow Glacier, following in the footsteps of their forebears.
A week and a half ago, I had the privilege of taking Robert Tatum’s handmade flag to the ARAMARK McKinley Chalet Resort, to be part of the send-off celebration that was taking place on June 4.
The flag was temporarily removed from our exhibit walls, packed safely in my rental car, and driven two hours to the Denali Park area.
There, it was shared with visitors and the Centennial Climb team, who received communion and a blessing from the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Alaska, the Right Reverend Mark Lattime. The Bishop admitted with regret that he would not be joining the climb team as he had originally planned, but would instead assume a similar role as Bishop Rowe from 1913, offering support from Fairbanks along with many others. The ceremony, which happened in the lobby of the McKinley Chalet Resort, was thought-provoking and touching, and I was honored to be in the audience. The short meet-and-greet after, allowed for an intimate Q&A period with these inspiring young men, as they shared their hopes and concerns for the events of the next month.
I think I can say that all of us felt the love and trust this group of men share, as they embark on this grand adventure, spearheaded and pushed through by Ken Karstens, great-grandson of Harry Karstens. As they make their way up the Muldrow Glacier route, one hundred years after their ancestors, there are a core group of family members and followers wishing them well, thinking about how proud those men of 1913 would be.