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Touch Alaska Interactive Media, Inc. - Our Story

Touch Alaska Interactive Media, Inc. was founded in Barrow as Touch Alaska to provide tourists, students, new residents and others interested in the arctic with accurate and culturally respectful information about the most northern community in the United States, Barrow, Alaska.

With assistance from the North Slope Borough (NSB) and members of the NSB Commission on Iñupiat History, Language and Culture, local artists and businesses, Touch Alaska released the documentary Barrow, Alaska - A True Story on video in 1995.

The following spring, with the support of the City of Barrow, the NSB, federal government programs, NSB School District, advertisers, local photographers and Iñupiat cultural mentors, Touch Alaska published its first edition of the Barrow Visitor's Guide.

The two-sided 16" x 20" glossy, full-color brochure features maps of the area showing the location of sponsors, advertisers, schools, modern amenities - and provides interesting and useful information about the unique community of Barrow; its ancient and modern history. The visitor's guide includes descriptions of local wildlife (Barrow is a birding paradise,) pictures by local photographers, a walking map and information about key resources including the Iñupiat Heritage Center.

The Barrow Visitor's Guide also includes a general schedule of community events throughout the year along with assistive and educational information for tourists, new residents and other visitors such as scientists, educators and people interested in doing Business in Barrow and on Alaska's North Slope. Guidance for ensuring safety while traveling or living in the arctic is also included.

Touch Alaska Interactive Media incorporated in Alaska in 2001 and has continued to publish a new visitor's guide every few years - printing and shipping a minimum of 20,000 copies that are distributed to advertisers, sponsors and the State of Alaska Division of Tourism. The City of Barrow stores the guides and makes them available upon request, free of charge, for as long as supplies last. The City of Barrow may ask people or institutions requesting large numbers of copies to pay a shipping fee.

As a new sponsor, the NSB ECHO Project in 2006 contributed funds that allowed Touch Alaska Interactive to produce many more copies of the Barrow Visitor's Guide than usual. Unfortunately, a pipe broke at the City of Barrow in the winter of 2009 that resulted in the loss of most of the remaining supply. Fortunately, the City located some undamaged copies in July.

Touch Alaska Interactive Media typically begins work on a new edition of the Barrow Visitor's Guide early in the year. However, after communication with City of Barrow Mayor Bob Harcharek, Touch Alaska is set to begin work on the next edition this autumn. The new visitor's guide will include updated news about offshore oil exploration, arctic science projects and other information about Barrow, Alaska and the culture of the Iñupiat.

While we've got your attention, although most arctic populations around the world are commonly referred to as Eskimo, the people are Inuit. In Alaska's arctic region, they are Iñupiat. The language is Iñupiaq.

Photo Credits:

L to R: Nature photos courtesy Rainey Nasugraq Higbee. Historic image of Knuuk with ceremonial, yellow-billed, loon head dress courtesy, NSB Planning Department, NSB Commission on Inupiat History, Language and Culture; and Alfred M. Bailey Collection
Interior image of Inupiat Heritage Center courtesy Natalie K. Munden
Low, January arctic sun image courtesy Natalie K. Munden

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