Project Jukebox Alaska

A group of Alaska Natives
Courtesy the Archives at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
1. Indigenous communities enrich our understanding of the past. Project Jukebox has recorded over 11,000 individual interviews - many of which document Alaska’s indigenous communities. By interviewing tribal elders and other Native Alaskans across generations, Project Jukebox preserves indigenous traditions and experiences and enables its listeners to appreciate how these stories, songs, and language contribute to our shared past.

2. Communities of memory are lively and eclectic. Tune in to any of Project Jukebox and you’ll find interviews on everything from dog sled racing and fishing to climate change and the national parks. A number of these interviews are also organized into communities of memory. Taking care to interview all sorts of Alaskans, from politician to pioneer, Project Jukebox embraces all the events, individuals, and experiences that come to make a place and time distinctive.

3. Digital histories require consistent preservation and maintenance. Since its inception in 1988, Project Jukebox has been processing its audio files, making them compatible with and accessible to the Web. The site has yet to digitize all of the original interviews, but the project’s diligent tech team has developed an expansive library and detailed index. They’ve also educated users about what it takes to bring history from print to screen.

4. Project Jukebox recognizes that the National Park Service has shaped every park’s history. The project has preserved the stories of scores of NPS employees who played crucial roles in establishing and managing parks in Alaska. It has helped the Park Service better understand its own history and to tell its own stories.

5. Digital humanities model and encourage the processes of historical thinking in innovative ways. Project Jukebox brings together a host of primary sources—maps, photographs from family scrapbooks and government archives, and oral history interviews --and provides the raw materials that history practitioners use to research and make sense of the past. The evidence collected offers multiple perspectives and suggests a variety of questions about Alaska people and places—and how they have changed over time.

Back to the History Discover Events Gallery
Back to the Series: Best Practices for History Lessons and History Discovery Events.
Screen capture of the Project Jukebox website
From indigenous heritage to the Cold War, Project Jukebox covers a range of topics.
Sled dogs in Alaska
Project Jukebox pairs oral records with historic photos and documents from Alaska libraries and archives. Image courtesy of the Alaska State Library Historical Collections.

Last updated: September 13, 2017