National Register of Historic Places in Borough of Sitka
Sheldon Jackson Museum
Founded in 1887
Alaska's oldest continuous museum,
housed in the first concrete
structure built in Alaska
Begun in 1895
Has been placed on the
Of Historic Places
By the United States
Department of the Interior
All Photos 16 May 2011
(Click Photos to Zoom)
The Sheldon Jackson School Historic District includes fifteen structures completed in 1911 and two older structures, the Sheldon Jackson Museum and North Cottage. The core of the district contains six buildings in the Craftsmen architectural style.
Reverend Sheldon Jackson arrived in Sitka ten years after the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia. He was a Presbyterian missionary who had graduated from Princeton with a degree in theology.
In 1878, Jackson founded the Sitka Mission to instruct and assimilate indigenous boys, primarily sons of the Tlingit and Haida people of southeast Alaska. Jackson renamed his school several times. The Sheldon Jackson Institute in 1881. The Industrial Home for Boys in 1882. The Sitka Industrial Training School in 1885. The school operated under his direction until his death in 1909.
During Jackson's tenure, his school, under its various names, remained true to missionary orthodoxy that demanded instruction in Christian dogma and a prohibition of Native languages. As was the case elsewhere in the United States, the cultural ramifications of missionary education were profound. The curriculum required students to adopt the newly dominant Euro-American culture at the expense of their traditional cultures. Children were compelled to leave their villages to spend years away at the mission schools.
Many of Alaska's Native leaders were graduates of Sheldon Jackson School, including the founders of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and members of the territorial legislature. The Alaska Native Brotherhood, established in 1912, was instrumental in securing rights for Alaska's Native peoples.
Source: Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1972.
Kla-how-ya, mother, I leave you with your white man;
I curse their church that tells us that our fathers were wrong!
And I'll hunt my own mowitch and I'll drink my own whiskey
And I'll sing until morning the old fashioned song.
The Renegade by Ian Tyson