Free day at museum

Posted by Mike Dunham on November 9, 2012 

"Eklutna woman reading Life magazine, Hooper Bay, Alaska, 1941-43" by Ruth Gruber: Part of the exhibit of Gruber's photos now on display at the Anchorage Museum, this picture seems to have a misleading title. The mountains in the background are not the landscape anywhere near Hooper Bay, but look like they might be the Chugach Range as seen from Eklutna. The unnamed woman is wearing a parka in the style of western Alaska, so she may be from Hooper Bay. Eklutna was the site of a vocational school in the 1940s where many Native Alaskan women were trained as nurses. Does she look familiar to anyone?

Admission to the Anchorage Museum will be free on Sunday, Nov. 11, courtesy of Wells Fargo. Highlights will include performances by local drum and dance groups, cooking demonstrations by Rob Kinneen and a film about Ruth Gruber at 6 p.m.

Gruber's photographic career is best remembered for her documentation of Jewish refugees trying to get to Israel, starting with the voyage of the Exodus in 1947 and running into rescue efforts in Africa in the 1980s. But before then, she worked in Alaska and took several remarkable photos in the territory. Her work before, during and after her Alaska tenure is the subject of an exhibit running through Jan. 6 at the museum.

Gruber is still alive but, at the age of 101, not traveling much from her home in New York. We understand her daughter will be on hand for the streening of the film, "Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber."

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