Cannery Art

“Cannery Art” explores the various artistic expressions of cannery workers in Naknek, Alaska during the summer fishing season. Forms of art include music, poetry, architecture, graffiti, and more. The film features interviews from local community members and former cannery workers in Naknek, as well as historian Dr. Katie Ringsmuth.

Classroom Guide

Essential Questions

  • What role does art play in the day-to-day of cannery work in Naknek?
  • What is the impact of cannery art on Alaska’s larger story and history?
  • How does art express our cultures and identities?

Lesson Plans

In this Alaska Studies lesson, 9th and 10th grade students are guided through critical thinking about the history of salmon canning in Alaska, the workers who engaged in the industry, and the role of art in canneries. As a final assignment, students take the perspective of a cannery worker and choose a piece of art to share with their “fellow cannery workers” (classmates).

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  • Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing, Research to Build and Present Knowledge, 8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Alaska Arts Standards, Anchor Standard #11, Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context.


This film was created as part of the NN Cannery History Project, an initiative to place the Diamond NN Cannery on the National Register of Historic Places.

Land Acknowledgement

This video was filmed on Yup'ik/Cup'ik Land. Learn more about land acknowledgements at