The Ted Stevens Papers Project celebrated Ted Stevens Day 2012 with a gallery talk and reception, Pipeline Politics & People: Reflecting on 35 Years of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, featuring speakers Dirk Tordoff, Alaska Film Archives; Mary Anne Hamblen, Ted Stevens Project Archivist; and John Baldridge and Lorena Hegdal of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
The accompanying exhibit, Pipeline Politics & People: Beginnings of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, highlights early legislation leading to the the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act (TAPS) signed by President Nixon in 1973, the “pipeliners” who came in droves in the mid-1970s seeking lucrative construction jobs, and the unique culture and camaraderie of the men and women who lived in the 29 temporary construction camps along the pipeline route.
The Technology & Transport portion of the exhibit features a model of an Alaska Air International Lockheed C-130 (“Hercules”) airplane, a tough military transport aircraft capable of using unprepared runways, used in the 1970s to support pipeline construction, and a mini-replica of a pipeline instruction gauge, or “pig,” used to clean and maintain the inside of operating pipeline.
The “Pipeliners” exhibit case, through photographs and artifacts, gives a glimpse into pipeline camp life and the people who worked on the pipeline. “Politics & Law” highlights critical legislation that paved the way for making TAPS possible, and the many politicians involved in crafting legislation and advocating for pipeline construction.