Congratulations Valene Smith! On January 28, 2010, Valene, who has traveled with Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions an astounding 27 times since 1993, will be recognized at the grand opening of the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology. Since its inception in 1970, Valene has made significant contributions to the museum on the California State University, Chico’s campus (where she is also a professor emerita in the field of anthropology); the museum has been renamed in her honor.
The grand opening will also highlight a new exhibit at the museum called Living on Top of the World: Arctic Adaption, Survival and Stewardship. The exhibit invites visitors to see the Arctic like they’ve never seen it before with a focus on the land, wildlife, and most importantly, the people.
During Valene’s 31 years at Chico State, she spent much of her time studying the effects of tourism on culture; specifically how people can learn more about their own culture and how to preserve it simply by selling it to visitors. Valene was invited to Alaska to study the “old ways” of the Inuit culture with a group of 85—aged sixty-five and older—natives. And, she also edited Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism, considered a classic in the field of international tourism, with content that was derived from a symposium that she dreamed up at the 1974 American Anthropological Meeting in Mexico City.
Valene says she is taking a “vacation from travel” to pare down the thousands of slides accumulated over the years and to donate books and artifacts to the museum’s library, but will definitely return to her travels with Zegrahm once that time-consuming task is complete.
When asked why she is drawn to traveling with Zegrahm, Valene tells us, “My trips aboard the Clipper Odyssey are like going back to grad school for a couple of refresher courses. The lecture teams are outstanding.”
Valene also told us that she believes Zegrahm is “the best travel service/supplier in the industry today.” This is music to our ears; especially since, in addition to being a professor, Valene owned a travel agency for 20 years and is a CTC (Certified Travel Counselor).
Please join us in congratulating Valene on this monumental achievement. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to seeing her soon in the field!