The Walter Soboleff Center

Sealaska Heritage Institute

Funding Received: 2013
Juneau, AK
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 18, 2014

Progress on the Walter Soboleff Center is moving fast. The cement floors of the Basement have been completed. The lower level, shown in this picture, will house our archives and ethnographic collections in a climate-controlled space.


Concrete has started to be poured on the first floor which will be used for a gift shop and an exhibit area for the general public, students and tourists to learn about Southeast Alaska Native culture, arts and history. Although the Center will not be used a classic museum, it will have an exhibition area with educational displays those visiting Juneau to learn more about Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. The first floor will hold a clan house that can be used for performing arts and theatre during the summer as well as a meeting room during the winter months.


Sealaska Heritage Institute is not alone in the planning of the Center. SHI was conceived by Clan Leaders, Traditional Scholars and Elders in 1980. Since then the Council of Traditional Scholars have helped guide the Institute’s language and culture programs. Over Feb. 18th and 19th the council met to discuss the Walter Soboleff Center Opening and Exhibits. They discussed the proper way to celebrate the opening of the Walter Soboleff Center and the exhibits that will be shown on the first floor of the building. The Council spoke of the importance of the Center and how to properly incorporate important Native values and traditions into the center.