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City Museum receives original Rie Munoz artwork

December 13, 2019 – News

The Muñoz Family donated a collection of Rie Muñoz original artwork to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum on December 12. Included in the donation are five original watercolor paintings, and 55 original pen-and-ink political cartoons that were published by the Alaska Sunday Press (now the Juneau Empire) in the 1950s and 1960s. Also included from the same era are hundreds of newspaper clippings of Rie Muñoz cartoons.

Rie came to Alaska in 1950 for a short visit on board the steamship Princess Louise. Arriving on a rare sunny day, she thought Juneau was the most beautiful spot she’d ever seen and decided to jump ship and try and find a job and a place to stay before her ship was to return from Skagway the next day.

Shortly after her arrival, Rie (then Rie Mounier) walked into the office of the Alaska Sunday Press seeking a job. The editor, who hired her on the spot, later told her she got the job because she had been so completely guileless about her lack of any “real” newspaper experience.

Later, Rie became editor of the Women’s Page, which covered tea parties, slide shows, and cuisine. After marriage and having twins, she began working part time while continuing to create political cartoons. Her inspiration came from reading the newspaper in the evenings. If something fun came to mind while reading the news, Rie would draw the cartoon and submit it the following morning.

The 55 political cartoons donated to the City Museum poke gentle fun at past local and state politicians and are a fascinating glimpse into Juneau’s history. “The cartoons debated topics such as commercial fishing and capital moves, similar issues faced today,” says Rie’s son Juan Muñoz.

Other cartoons of Juneau’s past include “Blow Out for Big Daddy!” about Governor Bill Egan’s birthday party, soap box derbies, and “The Popcorn Lady” with her large van of treats for the kids.

More information about the City Museum can be found on the museum’s website. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at 4th & Main Street. Winter hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free December admission is sponsored by Pioneer Igloo #6.