Pratt Museum: Investing In Our Future
The national award-winning Pratt Museum is dedicated to the exploration of people and place in the Kachemak Bay region, one of the richest biological and cultural crossroads in Alaska. Built as Homer’s centennial project in 1968, the Pratt has become one of the nation’s leading community museums. Partnerships with such entities as the National Park Service, National Geographic, and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology have propelled the Pratt’s exhibits and programs far beyond the Museum’s walls. And prestigious grants from the nation’s leading museum, arts, and humanities institutions have underscored the groundbreaking work of this small museum, which has always been a source of pride for the local community.
Change Brings Opportunity
The Pratt has long been a gathering place for homesteaders, artists, Native Elders, and others, and the Museum remains a nexus of reflection and engagement for its community and visitors. Today, Kachemak Bay is witnessing dramatic environmental and cultural change that is transforming the very fabric of life in the region. The Pratt is now embarking on an ambitious capital project that will empower the Museum to work with its community and visitors to understand and respond to the dramatic changes unfolding in the region—and beyond.
The Museum is constructing a new facility and developing its 9.8-acre campus in the heart of downtown Homer. The new facility and improved grounds will enable the Pratt to:
Enrich Visitors’ Understanding of the Region and Their Own Lives
The Pratt’s current facility is an aging building with low-quality and limited gallery space and inadequate environmental systems. The new building—25% larger than the existing structure—will integrate all activities into one floor and will provide an exceptional experience for the Pratt’s 30,000 annual visitors and program participants. Fully ADA-compliant, the facility will be an attractive and inspiring venue for Museum and community events. Expanded gallery space will enable the Pratt to complete the final phase of its award-winning permanent exhibit, Kachemak Bay: An Exploration of People and Place. New exhibits on climate change, fish camp in contemporary Dena’ina life, and other themes that have recently emerged through community conversations will explore the most pressing issues we face today.
Serve As a Place to Gather, to Learn, to Reflect
The Pratt is the community’s living room, classroom, and place for sharing. And yet the Museum has no space designated for lively interaction and learning. Currently, community and education programs occur in galleries—disrupting exhibits and gallery visitors. New dedicated space for education programs and community gatherings will prioritize learning and dialogue. Here, speakers and program leaders will have access to first-class presentation tools. A new research and conservation lab will serve as a place where students and scholars can advance our collective understanding of the Kachemak Bay region through in-depth study of Pratt collections. The lab will enable on-site object conservation, and the research room will provide a quiet location for the recording of oral histories and the examination of collections.
Keep the Pratt’s Promise: Preserve Collections into the Future
The Pratt’s collections include 24,000 objects in art, anthropology, history and natural sciences and are a valuable resource in the region for education and research. The new facility will provide expanded collections storage space with much-needed state-of-the-art environmental controls. New back-of-house areas and support facilities will provide opportunities for the Pratt to engage curators and exhibits from across the state and nation.
Ignite Exploration Beyond the Museum’s Walls
Development of the Pratt’s wooded campus—located in Homer’s Central Business District—will showcase Woodard Creek, Homer’s largest urban stream. Wilderness qualities will remain in some areas of the site, while others will feature lively gatherings, exhibits, and performances. Trails and accessible paths will welcome individuals of diverse ages and abilities.
Put Stewardship into Action
The new facility will maximize function, efficient use of space, and aesthetic appeal. Building systems will be energy efficient, keeping operating costs at a minimum. Gallery and collections storage spaces will include advanced temperature and humidity controls, and work areas will take advantage of natural light.
Help Build the Future of the Pratt . . . and the Community
The Pratt Museum is the community’s historical anchor. The vitality of this institution contributes tangibly to local quality of life, helping make Homer a place where people want to live, work, and play. This project represents the first major capital initiative the Museum has undertaken in its 59-year history. This ambitious step will allow the Pratt to continue to be a resource for learning and a place of meaningful conversation decades into the future. And it will position the Pratt to provide critical continuity as we seek to navigate an uncertain future.
Your support will help build the future of the Pratt Museum. Your participation will help deepen our collective understanding of the Kachemak Bay region. Your gift will inspire dialogue, lifelong learning, and community engagement. Your contribution is needed as we strive to reflect on the past, explore the present, and understand how we can shape our future.