The Kenai River Campus will hold its 41st commencement ceremony at 7 p.m., May 3, at Kenai Central High School's Renee C. Henderson auditorium. The Kachemak Bay Campus will celebrate its 30th annual ceremony at 7 p.m., May 4, at the Mariner Theater in Homer High School. Graduates from KPC's Anchorage Extension Site have the option of participating in UAA's or KRC's commencement ceremonies, but they also host a luncheon commemorating the students' achievements.
Since 1998, when the first batch of photos arrived in Dr. Alan Boraas' Anthropology Lab, more than a thousand historical photographs depicting life on the Kenai in the 1950s, 60s and 70s have been cataloged and archived. That archive has morphed into a digital, historical photo repository that will provide a window into what life was like on the Kenai Peninsula during the mid- to late twentieth century for generations to come.
The first photographs came from a relative of Sterling homesteader and bush pilot Virgil Dahler who donated the images to Soldotna homesteader Marge Mullen when Dahler passed away. Working in Boraas' lab, Mullen teamed up with long-time resident Jean Brockel to organize the photographs into an archive giving each image a unique identifying number and placing them in acid-free envelopes for storage.
As they worked though the vast collection, they realized time was running out to capture the details of what the images depicted. The pioneers who took the images were passing away. With that in mind, other collections were donated by Celeste Holm, Dick Mumsen and from Marge Mullen herself.
When some of the photo files from the Cheechako News, the central Peninsula's first newspaper published from 1959 through 1984, became available, the project was launched.
Dr. Boraas developed a Microsoft Access database to log information about each photo and Mullin and other volunteers entered the data, often consulting with other locals to help identify a person or place. In addition, volunteers scanned all the images into digital format with the data being backed up on KPC servers. The original photos are housed in a secure, fire-proof cabinet in an archival room equipped with fire suppression equipment at the college.
Last year Boraas coordinated with KPC's computer programmer, Jesse Glaves, to move the data into an advanced, web-based database that has become the Kenai Peninsula Historical Photo Repository website. The site, still in development, provides searchable access by keyword with images presented as thumbnails, medium and large format.
The intent of the project is to provide the public free access to the photos and descriptions for personal, educational and research purposes and the site has incorporated a strict use agreement. Users must agree with the stated restrictions before entering the site. Images cannot be used for political, commercial or advertising campaigns.
Future plans for the project include having a mechanism for accepting photo contributions from the public and refined functionality and search options.
The site can accessed from the KPC website homepage or by entering this address into a web browser: www.kpc.alaska.edu/hp/default.aspx
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