Climate Change at the Jensen Arctic Museum
Who? The Jensen Arctic Museum: Located on the Western Oregon University campus, the Jensen is one of only two museums in the Lower 48 states devoted solely to collecting, preserving and teaching about Arctic culture and ecology. As such, it has the largest collection of Arctic materials between Seattle and San Francisco. This collection is used to present exciting educational programs and exhibits to thousands of visitors and students every year, allowing them to visit the Arctic in Oregon. The museum also serves as a teaching laboratory on campus, working with WOU students in education, anthropology, and art.
What? A New Building: A campaign is being initiated to replace the existing museum structures. The new facilities will present an inviting face to the public, preserve the collection, increase user accessibility, and permit the expansion of programs and exhibits.
Why? Structural Failure: In the summer of 2007, the WOU Physical Plant declared that the roof over the reference library, office, and arctic theater would not last through the winter. The theater contains the stuffed animal diorama, the whaling paraphernalia and umiak (women’s paddle boat), and the related sound and light show equipment. A temporary membrane roof has been installed to afford protection for the next two years. After that, the collection will again face the possibility of wind and water damage.
Actually, the entire museum needs to be replaced. The newest portion, an inexpensive used mobile home, is in danger of leaking and is not repairable. The oldest portion, a 1940’s farm house, is in constant danger of pest infestation and cannot be modified without bringing the entire structure up to current building code, a structural impossibility.
Where? The Same Location: While other land was donated many years ago as a potential site for a new museum, converting that bare ground into a whole new museum in one single phase has been studied and found not to be cost effective.
When? Starting Right Now
How is it Funded? Through Grants and Donations By means of grant funding and private donations, we can renew the Jensen and bring forth a new generation of museum visitors who will learn the messages of men and women, animals and plants that are surviving and thriving in the harsh far-northern regions of this earth.
As of September 19, 2007 Architect Gary Day, of Benchmark Architectural Services estimated that Phase One will cost $542,616 to build plus an additional 25% for soft costs for a total of $678,270. Phase Two is estimated at $328,295 in hard costs, plus 25% in soft costs and 6% for inflation for a total of $436,316. Thus, the grand total for phases One and Two is $1,114,586. Phase Three is too far into the future to be accurately estimated.
One hundred and forty Friends of the Museum have contributed $61,000 so far, and another anonymous individual has pledged $50,000. We are starting to submit grant applications to other funders, but your help is needed now.
Can You Help? Let Us Know Jim Birken, WOU Foundation, 503-838-8145
Background on Dr. Jensen The museum’s founder, Dr. Paul Jensen, spent more than a quarter-century studying Native Alaskan culture and working in the Arctic. A faculty member at WOU, he administered cultural exchange programs between Alaskan villages and communities in the “lower 48” for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and arranged for and supervised student teacher assignments in Alaskan communities. In addition, Dr. Jensen consulted with the Canadian government on education issues and programs. His collection of artifacts formed the initial foundation of the museum.
Jensen Arctic Museum 503-838-8468 | or e-mail: email@example.com