Cannery History Project | Awarded Second Round of Federal Funding

NPS | Underrepresented Communities Grant

The NN Cannery History Project, through the State of Alaska’s Office of History and Archeology, will receive federal funding as part of an effort by the National Park Service to shine a spotlight on the contributions of underrepresented communities to our nation’s history. It is one of thirteen projects across the country awarded funding, totaling $500,000. 

The NN Cannery History Project will receive $48,600, the second round of funding it has been granted, to compile the archival and primary research needed to place the important Alaskan historical site on the National Register and pilot a Digital Storytelling program.

“Little has been written about Alaska canneries, and only two have been documented for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” notes Alaska’s State Historian and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Joan Antonson. “The NN Cannery supported thousands of local residents, transient workers, and fishermen over many decades, providing them a unique identity and lifeway. Listing the NN Cannery on the National Register will call attention to these cannery workers and tell the human stories behind the industry.”

The NN Cannery Project is a collaborative partnership between Tundra Vision, Alaska Association for Historic Preservation, the Alaska State Museum, Trident Seafoods, and local Bristol Bay groups aimed at preserving the important history to more than century of cannery lives.


The <NN> nnery is situated on the south side of the Naknek River, one of the five major rivers that make up the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, Alaska’s largest and most sustainable commercial fishery. The Indigenous Alaskans who worked at the cannery were descendants of Katmai people and culturally connected to the Brooks River Area's Archeological District and National Historic Landmark at Katmai National Park and Preserve. Despite their vital contribution, Native American and Asian cannery workers are often ignored in the popular narratives of Alaska’s most important salmon fishery. 

“Alaskan canneries often succumb to the ravages of weather, arson or neglect,” said Jennifer Pederson Weinberger, Cultural Resources Program Manager at the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office. “The cannery at South Naknek represents a rare exception and retains a considerable amount of historical, architectural and cultural significance.” 

The grant to the NN Cannery Project is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund using revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The fund provides assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars. The National Register nomination is expected to be completed in early 2020.

LaRece Egli