Kavilco,Incorporated and Organized Village of Kasaan partner to restore the "Whale House"
Kavilco, Incorporated owns Naay I'waans ("The Great House", Chief Son-i-Hat Whale House) and the surrounding land. Having responsibility for the property, Kavilco contracted with MRV Architects in 2007 to perform a condition survey of the Whale House and eight nearby totem poles. In 2010, Kavilco and the Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK) developed a joint strategy to move forward on implementing critical restoration work. Through a grant funded by the National Park Service - Historic Preservation Office (2010-2011), MRV and OVK drafted the "Son-i-Hat Whale House Renovation & Preservation Plan. Kavilco and OVK formally approved this plan in October, 2011.
Purpose and Goals:
The purpose of this Chief Son-i-Hat Whale House Restoration Project is to preserve and protect the Haida architectural form and physical structure of the Whale House located in Kasaan, Alaska. An additional purpose is to preserve and practice the traditional carving and house construction methods of the Haida people for future generations.
The renovation project will use traditional carving and construction knowledge, tools, and techniques to renovate the Whale House in the most traditional manner possible to maintain a legacy link to the past. The renovation project will be faithful to the house that was originally constructed in the 1880’s and reconstructed in 1938-1940.
All sound existing wood and strucutres will be utilized as carefully as possible, both out of respect to the original carvers and structure, and to minimize the number of boards and structures that need to be re-fabricated. Further, all renovation activities will adhere to relevant guidelines found in the National Register of Historic Places.
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