The Alaska State Museum designed its online resources site to give teachers, students and families access to the Museum's current exhibits and collections. Using historical information and guided interpretation, students can visit and learn from exhibits which they may not have the opportunity to physically view. All activities and lesson plans are correlated to the Alaska State Content Standards in a number of disciplines, including the Arts, English/Language Arts, Social Studies and Mathematics. Staff wrote activities for selected grade levels that are interdisciplinary in nature. We encourage teachers to modify and adapt the activities to meet the needs of their students.
The exhibition Eight Stars of Gold: The Story of Alaska's Flag is the second in a series of online resources. We developed Quilts of Alaska in the fall of 2001; it is available through the museums' web site.
The story of Alaska's flag is a unique and important part of 20th century Americana and a significant episode in Alaska's history. What began in 1927 as a flag contest resulted in the remarkable story of 13-year-old Benny Benson, and how his winning entry provided a flag for the territory of Alaska and a symbol for self-government during the statehood campaign.
The exhibit, Eight Stars of Gold: The Story of Alaska's Flag commemorates the 75th anniversary of Alaska's flag. In addition to telling the story of Benny's winning design, the exhibit features actual entries by some of the other young contestants. These designs illustrate the ideas and creativity embodied in Alaska's youth at that time.
India Spartz, born and raised in Juneau, grew interested in celebrating the story of Benny Benson and the Alaska flag over several years as she worked at the Alaska Historical Collections of the State Library. The story of her role as the Guest Curator of this exhibit is another example of how the curiosity and creativity of an Alaskan can motivate and inspire all of us. One of the activities in this online resource, titled "Meet the Researcher" uses a video interview with Ms. Spartz and allows readers and viewers to understand her methodology in unraveling the true story of Benny Benson.