A holiday message from Aldona Jonaitis

Here in Fairbanks the day is at its shortest, the sun rising at 10:57am and setting at 2:39 pm.  Outside it’s -17.6 degrees.   When it’s this cold there’s no wind, so the snow just stays where it fell, and there are several inches of snow decorating the trees.  Cold, snow, short days - one might think this is a depressing time of year.  But it is absolutely not.

The low sun filters through the atmosphere in some way so the skies are iridescent  blue.  The horses stand outside, happy and content in their shaggy coats.  The cold creates an otherworldly stillness rich with the essence of winter.  I happily sit inside my warm house, surrounded by dogs and count my blessings.

I myself have had a very good year.  I retired from my job of 15 years at the University of Alaska Museum of the North and am enjoying being busy with many tasks of my choice, including president of the board of WMA.

WMA has had a difficult year.  The national recession has taken its toll on not for profits, and income from our membership and conference attendance was substantially less than in previous years.  As a result, the board had to make some very hard decisions, including laying off the dedicated and hardworking staff and agreeing to run WMA by volunteers.  One could be depressed by this unfortunate turn of events -- but not us!

The board, and many other WMA members, have been contributing time and effort to keep our organization going.  This is something to be very grateful for.  And, interestingly, this situation has offered us all a valuable opportunity to reinvigorate WMA with new ideas for how we serve our community, how we communicate with our membership, how we organize our conferences.  This opportunity is also something to be grateful for.

And there’s something else.  As museum professionals, we do only good.  We educate.  We preserve and protect our world heritage.  We create new knowledge.  We provide safe environments.  We offer intelligent amusements.  During these difficult times, we offer an optimistic perspective on the world.  And that is something major to be grateful for.

I wish you a very happy holiday.





I feel warm all over with that holiday spirit and goodwill. Thank you Aldona for your optimism and willingness to lead during these complex times!

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