SeaCat Explorations Services
Anchorage Museum at the Rasmusen Center in downtown Anchorage, home of the Bob and Evangeline Atwood Alaska Resource Center. (Photograph by JP Goforth.)
Making use of years of experience, I navigate the various idiosyncratic systems of multiple repositories. Your information request—documents, graphics, photographs, and audio/visual products—is efficiently researched and effectively organized. As curious as felines people seem to have an innate need to understand the origins of things. Whether it be the location of an 18th century shipyard on Kodiak Island or naming the Alaska Commercial Company ships calling at St. Michael in 1904 enquiring minds want the details documented. These historical questions arise in all kinds of situations. The specialty of SeaCat Explorations is not only knowing where to seek information, but reporting the results into the broader context of Alaska's maritime history, giving you a deeper more complete understanding of the relevance of your enquiry.
SeaCat Explorations conducts in-depth archival research of primary source documentation in a wide variety of Alaskan repositories. These sources include public and private collections of documents, microfilm, photographs, charts, maps, letters, deeds, business and personal papers, etc. Much of the primary documentation of Alaska's 'modern history'--from the English explorations on--is not available in the state. For example, the National Archives in Seattle contains significant square footage of maritime documentation on vessels sailing in Alaskan waters. Original letters, charts, and logbooks of the explorers are now enshrined in Greenwich, England or Lisbon, Portugal and Petersburg, Russia.
Fortunately, a wealth of historical documentation regarding the culture and marine-related artifacts of the indigenous maritime peoples of Alaska that is located within the state. Additionally the papers and ephemera associated with the territorial and statehood government, the many goldrushes, civil and judicial papers, and many photographic collections can be found around the state. There also exists a goodly number of Russian Orthodox documents related to the many chapels and churches in the state. Historical societies across Alaska have doggedly maintained local collections now invaluable to the researcher. State and local governments are fruitful fishing grounds for commercial and corporate documentation. Several libraries maintain wide-ranging collections of historical material. There are even traces in diverse collections of early business records from flagship companies like the Alaska Commercial Company and Alaska Steamship Company.
I have years of experience working not only with printed documents in these traditional archives and repositories but also with the latest upgrades in technical generation of archival resources, such as digitized texts, web-based collections, and audiovisual media. If a vessel sailed or steamed in Alaskan waters, I most likely know where her cargo manifests, logbooks, and customs declarations can be found. If she sank, I might even be able to tell you if, and how, the crew was rescued, what the captain put in the wreck report, and when her boilers were last inspected.
SeaCat Explorations provides consulting services for local governments, business and community groups, and individuals that require specialized investigative research. This consulting may require specific pieces of evidentiary documentation to support existing projects. Reports on land titles, traditional usage of waterways and tidelands for business development, community interpretive historical markers, and other important types of documentation. Results may be reported in writing with notarization or in person in the form of a presentation to your board or group.
Histories: Corporate & Personal
Crafting the history of an organization or vessel or person is another highly specialized service of SeaCat Explorations. With clear prose and compelling illustrations, such histories can be used to present company or agency history to employees, donors and benefactors, or the general public. We interview, research, compile timelines, assemble the written evidence, and present the product. From feature-length articles for annual reports to book-length biographies, I strive to make Alaska's maritime history come alive in your project.
Corporate histories enable administrators and managers to understand the value of their past, enhancing their ability to address issues, evaluate and develop policy, formulate strategic plans, and direct change. Personal histories memorialize the adventures and exploits that are the unique legacy of those who have lived in Alaska. No one dies without having lived a great story. My mission is to memorialize that ship or person or place or company in an unforgettable biography.
Administrative and corporate history services include conducting archival research, oral histories and interviews; preparation of clearly written, compelling reports; and design of brochures, pamphlets, website content, and other related materials.
Is your group interested in 20-40 minute informative talk about an Alaska maritime topic? I can speak on a variety of maritime issues and topics, both historical and current. Most recently I've given presentations on the opening of the Northwest Passage; Alaska maritime photographer John E. Thwaites; and a presentation on the 19th century labor issues of mariners.
If your group has a particular maritime topic in mind, chances are good that from the contents of my own files I can assemble an entertaining and factual talk. Utilizing presentation products like Microsoft PowerPoint or even a distance delivery online tool like Webinar, photographs, charts and illustrations keep even after-lunch crowds awake. CDs of the presentation for your group can also be made for distribution.
SeaCat Explorations fee structure is based on an hourly research rate of $60.00 per on-site research hour plus expenses such as duplication, disks, and a one time set up fee. Groups with a 501(c)3 status receive a special discount. Administrative costs such as scanning, formatting, printing, and travel/per diem are negotiated separately on a per project basis.
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