Annual Meeting

Western Association for Art Conservation

Angels Project

Juneau, Alaska

August 17-18, 2009

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

Seeking Conservators in all specialities!

For 115 years the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church has been a jewel in the community of Juneau. It is a major tourist attraction, appearing in all the brochures and travel documents about Juneau. Built in 1894, it is the oldest continuously standing Russian Orthodox church in Alaska. There are older congregations, but those do not have their original buildings. It is part of the historic first diocese of the church in America. St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church was established mainly though the Native Tlingit people, who embraced Eastern orthodox Christianity during the Russian period prior to the purchase of Alaska by the United States in 1867. Part of the enthusiasm for the religion was that worship was allowed in the Native language. The congregation today continues to be mostly Alaska Native, numbering about 300 throughout the area but only about 30-40 members who are able to be active in the preservation of their church.

When the church was built, the Orthodox Missionary Society in Moscow sent gifts, including blueprints for the church, money, brass candelabra, banners, icons and other liturgical materials. Much of this legacy is still in regular use, although the preservation needs are great. The structure has fought carpenter ants and the building is sliding off its foundation. Continuous use of artifacts for over 100 years has caused wear and damage.

There are 5 focus areas for the project: Metals, Icons, Banners, Archives, and Architecture. Each of these areas will have a conservator in charge and other conservators working to fulfill the activities. Focus will be on those tasks that can be completed over the course of two days and consultation regarding the next steps after the intial push by the Angels Project.

The church is much beloved by the community, but neighbors are largely unaware that the congregation struggles with basic preventive tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and grounds keeping. This project could be a springboard to develop community volunteerism efforts to support this historic monument and its living traditions.

If you are interested in being an angel on this project please contact Scott Carrlee at

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Timestamp: Tuesday, 25-Aug-2009 11:42:29 PDT
Retrieved: Friday, 19-Oct-2018 05:25:51 GMT