lead instructors

StefaniE (Steffi) m. Ickert-bond, ph.D.

Curator of the Herbarium (ALA), Professor of Botany

UA Museum of the North, Mus 040

Phone: 907-474-6277

Email: smickertbond@alaska.edu

More than ever collections are most critical to our understanding of the impacts of climate change on our lives. Expeditions to remote areas and recollecting well- known but rapidly changing biotas are critical for documenting how life is being affected by current conditions. Today we can analyze biological variation at the genomic level, and address broad questions, through the use of big data. We have the tools to investigate significant evolutionary questions in new ways, yet all of these approaches are completely dependent on having well-documented and carefully curated collections. It is for those reasons that I am excited to be working in a world-class collection and be passionately involved in biodiversity research as a systematic biologist and faculty curator.


2003-2005  Evol. Biol., Postdoc, The Field Museum

2003     Ph.D. Plant Biology, Arizona State University

1997     M.S. Botany, Arizona State University

1994    Dipl. Ing. Horticulture, Technical University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany

josh reuther, ph.d.

Curator of Archaeology, Associate Professor of Anthropology

UA Museum of the North, Mus 042

Phone: 907-474-6945

email: jreuther@alaska.edu

I worked closely with the Museum for over 15 years as a student and researcher before joining the Archaeology Department full-time in 2013. I also serve as a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at UAF. I spent several years working for a private cultural resources management firm in Alaska, which provided me a background in cultural and heritage resource laws and practices. My recent research has primarily focused on understanding changes in human technological, settlement, and subsistence systems within local ecological and environmental contexts in subarctic and arctic settings. I am involved in several collaborative projects working with members of both urban and rural communities to understand the history and prehistory and development of landscapes in their regions. I have helped develop several exhibits at UAMN and at other Alaskan museums.


2013 Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Arizona

2003  M.A. Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

2001  B.A. Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

additional instructors

patrick s. druckenmiller, ph.D.

Director, UA Museum of the North; Earth Sciences Curator, Professor of Geology

UA Museum of the North, Mus 142

Phone: 907-474-6989

Email: psdruckenmiller@alaska.edu

My understanding and appreciation of museums has evolved throughout life. As a 7-year old, I was interested in many aspects of natural history and museums were the most accessible places to see exotic mammals, birds, minerals, and yes, dinosaurs. I was also intensely curious about what was going on behind the doors at these museums; whatever it was, it had to be really cool. As an undergraduate student, I had an opportunity to first volunteer and then get paid to work at a geological museum, where my career path in paleontology was cemented. Progressing through graduate school and working with other museums enabled me to grow my skills in collecting and curating fossils and most exciting of all, studying these remains to learn about ancient life. Joining a diverse team of curators at the UA Museum of the North has further broadened my perspectives of how interdisciplinary museums can be. The museum continues to be a place of discovery for me in the role of Museum Director, as I come to better understand the importance and interconnectedness of art, cultural history and natural science.


2006  Ph.D. Biological Sciences, University of Calgary

1998  M.S. Biological Sciences, Montana State University

2001  B.A. Botany, University of Wisconsin Madison

aren gunderson, m.s.

Collection Manager, Mammalogy

UA Museum of the North, Mus 004

phone: 907-474-6947

email: amgunderson@alaska.edu

I have worked in the Mammal Collection at UAM since starting graduate school at UAF in 2004 and as the Collection Manager since 2012. The UAM Mammal Collection is the 8th largest and 3rd fastest growing in North America. As specimen holdings grow so does interest from researchers requesting loans and agencies seeking to archive their research material. Managing these activities, with specimen and data care as a top priority, requires well established protocols and adherence to best and efficient practices. These challenges, and the great variety of science I get to participate in, keep me interested, curious, and excited to work at UAM.


2007  M.S. Wildlife Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

2002  B.S. Biology, University of Northern Iowa

Mareca guthrie, m.f.a.

Associate Professor of Art

email: mrguthrie@alaska.edu

I fell in love with museums when I was a small child and experienced them as places to discover the wonder of the natural world and the scale of human creativity. Museum objects felt like portals through which I could make connections to other people, places, and times. I have worked in museums, galleries, and image libraries since 2002 and have served as Fine Arts Curator at UAMN since 2011. We have more than 4000 objects in the Fine Arts Collection ranging from contemporary Alaska Native art to historic landscape paintings. The generations of artists whose work is held in the fine arts collection help us understand a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. In addition to exhibitions the collection also serves as an important resource for scholarly research in the art and history of Alaska. It is an excellent resource for artists, faculty, and students to support the study of drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.


2007  M.F.A. Film & Video, California Institute of the Arts

2003  B.A. Studio Art, Carleton College

Della Hall, M.A.

Collection Manager, Fine Arts

UA Museum of the North, Museum 001

Phone: 907-474-5102

email: dchall@alaska.edu

Since 2008, I have gathered experience working with many kinds of museum and archival collections. I’ve worked in both small and large art museums, history museums, natural history museums, historic houses, and other collecting institutions, in nearly every departmental role, from education to administration, collections management, digital archives, marketing, and exhibition. I moved to Fairbanks in 2013 for a collections internship at a small museum after graduation. Shortly afterward, I began volunteering at the Museum of the North until I was hired for a one year grant project migrating the Ethnology & History collection database to Arctos. I then spent several years working in other museums and archives in Fairbanks, and 3.5 years as Executive Director of Museums Alaska, the statewide museum association. I’ve been happily back at the Museum of the North since 2021 working in the Ethnology & History collections again. I am currently supporting the Bus 142 conservation project and ongoing collections care. I believe museums and their artifacts have the power to bring people together, and that learning about our universe, our common history, and one another’s cultures can and does change the world. And that’s why I do what I do!


2013 M.A. History; Certificate in Museum Studies, University of Delaware

2011 B.S. History, Technology, & Society; Minor in French, Georgia Institute of Technology

Kyndall b.p. hildebrandt, M.S.

Collection Manager, Genomic Resources

UA Museum of the North, Mus 008

phone: 907-474-6914

email: kbhildebrandt@alaska.edu

I’ve always loved museums but didn’t truly fall in love with them until I discovered the research aspect of museums. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate degree, I worked in the UAM Mammal Collection. I’ve been managing the frozen tissue collection and molecular labs for UAM since 2012. Preserving tissues alongside traditional museum specimens has only become standard in the past 30 years. The UAM collection houses over 200,000 tissue samples in liquid nitrogen cryovats, maintaining the temperature of these tissues at a balmy -170C. Best practices for preservation and molecular research are advancing quickly. I enjoy the challenge of attempting to know what and how we need to preserve to answer questions that research and technology will have in 10, 20, and even 100 years down the road. In addition to the research aspect of museums, I enjoy the educational aspects of museums. Museums are often the bridge between the scientific community and the public.


2011  M.S. Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks

2006  B.S. Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Leonard kamerling, M.F.A.

Curator of Film, Professor of English, Emeritus

UA Museum of the North, Mus 042

phone: 907-474-7437

email: ljkamerling@alaska.edu

Throughout my career, I have been primarily concerned with issues of cultural representation in film, communicating across cultural boundaries and the role that documentary film can play in eliminating stereotypes and credibly translating one culture to the other.

I am Curator of Film, Emeritus, at the University of Alaska Museum of the North.  I received my training at the London Film School and earned my MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I have made more than a dozen films about Alaska Native cultures and Indigenous issues, and pioneered a community – collaborative approach to producing ethnographic films that is the foundation of all my work.

My film, Uksuum Cauyai: the Drums of Winter, about Yup’ik traditional music and dance, was named to the National Film Registry of the US Library of Congress in 2006, joining the LOC’s exclusive list of the most important American films to be preserved for the future.

I was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, for the 2018-19 academic year, where I mentored students in ethnographic filmmaking and visual anthropology.


M.F.A. Creative Writing, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Angela J. linn, Ph.D.

Senior Collections Manager, Ethnology & History

UA Museum of the North, Mus 028

Phone: 907-474-1828

Email: ajlinn@alaska.edu

Material culture is one way in which humans embed meaning, represent relationships, and pass knowledge between generations. The objects we make and use can be considered an extension of ourselves. That shared physical cultural heritage stands as observers of the changes over time and space and museums can help bring out the stories of the people associated with those objects. We collect the objects and stories of living people and pull together primary resources like oral histories, newspaper articles, photographs, letters, and other records that support the understanding of the past, present, and future. I believe that all of the humanities can be enhanced through the use of museum collections and their associated records. My goal is to help provide an access point to individuals seeking to reconnect with their histories and personal heritage through the handling and study of objects in the collection. Museums are stewards of the objects held in trust on behalf of all who wish to learn from them.


2023 Ph.D. Museology and Northern History: Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks

2006  Graduate Certificate Museum Studies, George Washington University (Pilot Program in Distance Delivery)

1999  M.A. Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

1994  B.A. Anthropology, University of Iowa

j. andrés lópez, ph.d.

Curator of Fishes and Marine Invertebrates, Associate Professor of Fisheries

UA Museum of the North, Mus 044

Phone: 907-474-7828

email: jalopez2@alaska.edu

I am an ichthyologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with appointments in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Science and the University of Alaska Museum. I curate the fish collection at the Museum and teach fish biology and molecular techniques at UAF.  My research interests center on the evolution of fish diversity with special emphasis on the timing and patterns of diversification of freshwater fish groups. To understand fish evolution, I primarily use evidence from genetic data to better understand historical and ongoing relationships between groups, species and populations of fishes.  As curator of a research collection, I aim to promote the value of museums as essential resources supporting a broad array of applications in natural history studies.  As a teacher and biologist, I enjoy sharing stories of the rich and complex history of fish evolution and of the cultural and technological developments that shape our ability to understand evolutionary processes.


2003 Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Iowa State University

1998  M.S. Fisheries, University of Washington

1994  B.S. Biology and Marine Science, University of Alabama

Angela J. Schmidt, M.A.

Film Archivist, Alaska Film Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collection and Archives

UAF Rasmuson Library, Ras 345

phone: 907-474-5357

email: ajschmidt@alaska.edu

Being a film archivist is about the closest thing to being a time-traveler that I can think of. Motion pictures make the past come to life. It’s amazing to see what people were up to 25, 50, 100 years ago — especially in a place so culturally rich and phenomenally beautiful as Alaska. Although some aspects of peoples’ lives might have been vastly different decades ago, there remain many similarities to our present-day lives. We all like to work at something we enjoy, spend leisure time with friends, eat a good meal, pat a dog on the head, make goofy faces at the camera and laugh. I feel a great sense of accomplishment in being able to preserve content that students, researchers, historians and producers are able to study, analyze, interpret and use in their own projects and presentations. Working with analog materials such as film and videotape is immensely satisfying. Exploring the technologies that have been used to record human activity over time is sometimes as interesting as the content itself! My background is in photography, science and history. Everything I learned about motion picture archiving has been through two decades of on-the-job training, and attending conferences and workshops. I’m grateful to mentors and colleagues who’ve passed along their knowledge, and to donors who have been so generous in sharing their motion picture collections with the archives at UAF.


2015  M.A. Northern Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks

1999  B.S.  Wildlife Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

1993  B.S.  Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa State University

derek sikes, ph.d.

Curator of Insects, Professor of Entomology

UA Museum of the North, Mus 032

phone: 907-474-6278

email: dssikes@alaska.edu

I was hired as the curator of insects at the University of Alaska Museum in July 2006. I am a systematic entomologist and museum curator specializing on the hyper-diverse order Coleoptera (beetles). Systematics provides a foundation for all of biology in that it enables identifications of organisms, provides names of organisms, documents the distribution of organisms, and infers the evolutionary relationships and patterns of character change among organisms. Critical to this enterprise is the creation, growth, and maintenance of natural history collections which hold the physical voucher specimens and their data on which this field of study, and all of biology depend. It is my responsibility and honor to build and develop the University of Alaska Museum Insect Collection and make it an internationally valuable scientific resource for research, teaching, and outreach. Although a young collection, begun in 2000, the collection has recently surpassed 350,000 records representing over 1.8 million specimens (as of May 2020), making this collection among the top ten largest in the US in entomology based on data served to data aggregators like iDigBio and GBIF.org. Over 99% of these records have been georeferenced.


2003 Ph.D. Systematic Entomology, University of Connecticut

1994  M.S. Entomology, Montana State University

1992  B.A. Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz

scott shirar, m.a.

Collection Manager, Archaeology

UA Museum of the North, Mus 002

phone: 907-474-6943

email: sjshirar@alaska.edu

I started at the Museum of the North as a volunteer in 2003 and then began my graduate degree at UAF, working through the museum, during the fall of 2005. When starting graduate school it was not my intention to become a museum professional as my thesis project was based in zooarchaeology but after graduating in 2007 I was hired into a research position in the archeology department. As a research archaeologist my job was based on running and reporting on field projects in cooperation with state and federal entities, but I also gained experience supervising students in a laboratory setting working on curation and collection rehousing projects. In 2014 I was hired as the archaeology collection manager where my primary responsibility is to oversee the long-term preservation of artifacts and documentation which includes maintaining the collections database, supervising projects to upgrade and integrate collections, and facilitating research access. UAMN serves as the primary repository for archaeological collections in Alaska which represent every geographic region of the state, as well as the entire human occupation of the state going back nearly 15,000 years. The archaeology collection currently consists of approximately 7,500 accessions and over 1,000,000 cataloged objects.


2007  M.A. Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

1999  B.A. Anthropology, Indiana University

Roger topp, m.F.a., M.S.

Director of Exhibits

UA Museum of the North, Mus 136

phone: 907-474-6985

email: rmtopp@alaska.edu

I have been with UA Museum of the North for more than 20 years, originally hired to write and perform interpretive programming for live explainer shows and then to write grants and manage distance education initiatives for museum education and public programming. From there, I began the museum’s digital media production department and subsequently married that department to museum exhibits and design. These days, I direct UAMN’s exhibition development, run a startup that designs and fabricates tabletop games and public interactives, and attempt to get out into the world as often as possible to write about and photograph research fieldwork. My primary interest in all these endeavors is to look for new ways to experiment with nonlinear storytelling, with and without technology. Recent short fiction and nonfiction work can be found at The Maine Review, Dunes Review, Into the Void Magazine, West Branch, Cirque, Bennington Review, and other journals.


1999  M.F.A. Creative Writing, University of Alaska Fairbanks

1999  M.S. Physical Oceanography, University of Alaska Fairbanks

1993  B.A. Environmental Science, University of Virginia

campbell webb, ph.d.

Research Affiliate, Herbarium

UA Museum of the North, Mus 003

phone: 907-474-7079

email: cowebb@alaska.edu

As a botanist, I get to hike around in the woods and fields observing, collecting and photographing plants. As a hacker, I get to create and integrate digital representations of these plants. Organizing these digital organisms is the field of Biodiversity Informatics, of which Museum Informatics is a huge part, since so much of our information about organisms is stored in the world’s museums and herbaria. While there is no limit on the ways that one might store and transfer biodiversity data, most is stored in one of the popular biodiversity or museum databases; at UAMN we use Arctos (https://arctos.database.museum). I look forward to showing students the landscape of museum-based biodiversity informatics and peeking under the hood of Arctos (i.e., its APIs, SQL, DwCA, and other bits of alphabet soup!). More on me at: camwebb.info.


1997 Ph.D. Biology, Dartmouth College

1989  B.A. (Hons) Pure & Applied Biology, Oxford University, UK