"Communities, Disaster & Change" is a traveling exhibition coordinated by the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive, in Valdez, Alaska. It provides a twist on the fiftieth anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake commemoration through its connection with other communities and other disasters. The exhibit will travel around the state as well as to Oregon, and Hawaii. The full travel schedule and complete online gallery of the exhibit can be seen here.

This blog serves as a place to host a global conversation about the indomitable nature of the human spirit and communities' reactions to change, how they survive disaster and how they rebuild for the future. We hope this can be a tool for people like you, all across the world, to reach out and share your stories on survival and the will to carry on.

If you have seen the exhibit whether online or in person we want to know your reaction to the work of these twenty-eight Alaskan artists. Please join us in an ongoing conversation, and chime in with your thoughts, views and your personal stories of your community, disaster, and change.

04 November 2015

Earthquake Account by Diane Ferrier, CDC at Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Juneau-Douglas City Museum Unpacking
Artwork for the Upcoming
"Communities Disaster and Change Exhibition"


Juneau-Douglas City Museum is hosting CDC!

 Twenty-eight, talented Alaskan artists featured in this exhibition will be on display for a First Friday reception on November 6, from 4:30 to 7 pm through November 28, 2015.

Simultaneously, Juneau-Douglas will be featuring historical photographs documenting local disasters. This exhibit coinciding with "Communities, Disaster & Change" is aptly titled "Disasters at Home." These intriguing pictures depict devastation to people's homes caused by a landslide, avalanche, flooding and fires. The exhibit opens October 2nd, 2015 and closes November, 2016.

Lives are forever changed after enduring disasters such as those mentioned above. The excerpt below is a personal account told through a Valdez High School student's eyes. She was a senior. Her name is Diane Ferrier.

Diane Ferrier's Account of the 1964 Earthquake in Old Town Valdez

"On Friday, the 27th, at 530 in the evening I was walking home from work. It was a rather quiet day, but really quite ordinary. I had walked about two blocks and had just started toward the Post Office. I noticed an elderly woman that had gone into the Post Office. All at once, and very unexpectedly, the ground started shaking and the buildings that I could see started to crack. Many flooded and fell off their foundations. All around me the roads were cracking and water was spurting up from the cracks. The first thing I did was to help the woman out of the Post Office. I tried to comfort two little boys that were near by.
After the shaking let up I tried to get home to my family, but there was no way to get home. Water was rushing in on the streets and I could not see the cracks underneath. As I was trying to get down to the street where I lived I caught up to some girls that were trying to get home that way, too. We walked together for awhile before a man in a pick-up stopped and let   us crawl in the back.
I was worried about my family and I wanted to get back to see if they were still home, but there was no way to get home.   As we were driving past the grade school, I spotted my mother and sister in a car with some friends, so they stopped and    let me in with them.
My biggest worry was about my father and brother. They had gone out on the water to another bay to so some logging and were not back yet. There was no way I could find out how they were, so all I could do was hope. I really thought there would be no hope for them, because of the tidal wave that followed the earthquake.
We sat in the car for about an hour at the edge of town until everything died down, and then we went home with the people whose car we were in. We were there about three or four hours when my father and brother came in the door. My family  was finally all together! It was really a miracle that my father and brother made it safely back from down the bay. They    had been on shore, logging, when the earthquake happened and land slides started all around them. They rushed to a       skiff, which was taken off with a big wave and swept back in. They jumped out of the skiff onto their boat and the skiff and motor were smashed into little pieces. They headed off in the opposite direction from Valdez because the wave was in front of them. When it was safe for them, they stopped and turned on the radio. The first thing they heard was that Valdez had been wiped out, so they steered the boat straight for home driving the boat as fast as it would go. When they got to Valdez there was no dock left, and they had a hard time getting off the boat.
After we had been sitting around the table for an hour or so I happened to look out of the window. I noticed that there       was a fire in the downtown area. My dad told us to run out towards the airport because we had no car, and there was     danger of the oil tanks exploding. The airport is only a mile and a half from our house and the closest way out of town on our side of town. Before we had gone too far some people stopped and picked us up. To get to the airport we had to drive over two cracks in the road between 18 and 20 inches wide. We ended up with a flat tire and a bent tie rod. We spent the night at the airport and from there we could see the town burning.
We went back to town about 5:30 in the morning. We all went into the house and dad turned on the furnace and lit the stove and in a few hours we ate breakfast. After we had eaten we went around town looking at the damage that had been caused. Union Oil and three or four other buildings were either burned to the ground or still burning. After we had looked around town we went home and packed and said good-bye to all our friends that were left. We headed for up the road. It was really sad leaving town especially when we didn't know if we would see our friends again."
If one of our readers has an account such as this we would love to see it on this blog!!! Share your stories with us!!!!



1 comment:

  1. Good story Diane, Was a bad and scary time for all, you were very brave.


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