Sealaska Heritage


<<back to news page


July 17, 2013

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has scheduled a ground breaking ceremony for the Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau, marking the first phase of construction for the long-anticipated facility.

The event is scheduled at 12 pm, Thursday, Aug. 1 at the building site on Front St. and Seward St. across from Sealaska Plaza.

“We plan to invite a range of guest speakers, including the governor, our elected officials, tribal representatives and leaders from the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood,” said SHI President Rosita Worl, adding she hopes the community will attend the ceremony for the center, which will be open to the public.

The center was conceived more than ten years ago, and fundraising began in earnest in the past few years. SHI has raised more than 75 percent of the $20,000,000 needed to build the center and will continue to raise funds during construction.

SHI has received funds from the Alaska Native Education Program, ArtPlace, City and Borough of Juneau, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, Juneau Lions Club, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Rasmuson Foundation, Sealaska, State of Alaska, Walter Soboleff Trust and numerous individuals and businesses. The Capital Campaign Committee is chaired by Byron Mallott, and SHI has hired Dawson Construction, Inc., to build the center, which was designed by MRV Architects.

The center will feature a library and work areas for scholars and the general public, space for art demonstrations and exhibits, retail sales, a learning center for educational programs, and venues for performances and presentations. It will also house a research facility and climate-controlled collections storage. (For more information on the center, see

Sealaska Heritage Institute was founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

CONTACT: Rosita Worl, SHI President, 907-463-4844