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Take a Flight Through Time at Museums in Anchorage
Showcasing centuries of Alaska’s celebrated culture, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center combines historic exhibits exploring the identity of Alaska and its people with a wing dedicated to regional art and hands-on scientific exploration at the newly added Imaginarium Discovery Center.
In the small seaside town of Homer, Alaska- a stop on many ferry routes, you can explore local art and artifacts at the Pratt Museum and other art galleries throughout the whimsical town. Duck into the Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitors Center for wildlife displays that highlight conservation of the sea port’s rich marine environment. Then step outside for a guided tour on the nearby beach to watch for whales, otters, and sea lions.
Alaska Aviation Museum
Found along the southern shore of Lake Hood, the Alaska Aviation Museum seeks to "preserve, display, and honor Alaska's aviation heritage." A gem of the Anchorage tourism landscape, the museum features more than 30 aircraft displayed for your viewing pleasure.
Make your way to the Rasmuson Hangar and check out the Jack Carr T-Craft, and a number of unique exhibits like a James Haven Oil Painting. Keep an eye out for the 1928 Hamilton Metaplane H47 NC7791 – it's one of only two remaining.
In the Main Hangar, be sure to look for the Curtis J-1 Standard, or head for the First Class Theater where you'll be able to watch videos detailing the history of aviation in Alaska.
Alaska Heritage Library Museum at Wells Fargo
When you travel through Alaska, spend some time in Anchorage and be sure to visit the Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo. With more than 900 artifacts for your viewing pleasure, the museum is one of the largest private collections in the entire state.
A permanent exhibit, the heritage museum houses artifacts from many of the Alaskan Native cultures, like the Inupiaq, the Alutiiq, and even the St. Lawrence Yupik. Don't miss out on seeing the full-size Bering Sea kayak. When you're looking for a bit of history on Alaska and the Anchorage area, be sure to visit the Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo.
Alaska Museum of Natural History
Located in the Alaskan city of Anchorage, the Alaska Museum of Natural History is a non-profit museum dedicated to preserving science and history exclusive to “the Last Frontier.” The museum is great for visitors of all ages, housing a variety of exhibits, including Polar Dinosaurs, Ice Age, Alaska’s Animals, and more.
The museum hosts numerous family-friendly Anchorage events as well, like the Frosty Festival in January, as well as educational workshops throughout the year. Guests can also take a piece of Alaskan nature home with them by paying a visit to the museum gift shop.
Alaska State Museum
Established in 1900, the Alaska State Museum has been collecting and preserving significant artifacts for the state of Alaska for over 100 years. After becoming the first concrete structure built in the state, the museum was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Today, the museum features over 27,000 objects on display, as well as the 6,000 piece collection from the Sheldon Jackson Museum. A staple of any Juneau visit, this museum is must-see for history buffs and curious passersby alike.
Opened in 1968, the Anchorage Museum showcases Art of Alaska, historical materials, circumpolar Native prehistoric materials, and non-northern collections. Located in Anchorage, visitors enjoy strolling through the museum to view more than 20,000 artifacts, photographs and pieces of art.
In addition to exhibiting art native to Alaska, the museum also preserves, interprets and collects cultural materials. The Imaginarium Discovery Center is a wonderful section of the museum with hands-on activities and exhibits. Permanent exhibits in the Science area of the museum include the Planetarium Hall, Bubble Space and BP Kinetic Space.
Dorothy G. Page Museum
Open throughout the year, the Dorothy G. Page Museum & Historic Town Site is set in quaint downtown Wasilla in southern Alaska. The site commemorates Dorothy Page – the “Mother of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race."
Owned and operated by the City of Wasilla, the Page Museum features rotating and permanent exhibits on Wasilla, Knik, and Willow Creek area history. Those interested in the history of the Iditarod need visit the Page Museum, historic downtown Wasilla, and the Musher's Hall of Fame.
Imaginarium Discovery Center
At 9,000 square feet, the Imaginarium Discovery Center features over 80 exhibits, hands-on displays, and plenty more to amaze all members of the family when you visit Alaska. The Imaginarium Discovery Center is found in Anchorage, and is a part of the Anchorage Museum.
You'll want to check out the BP Kinetic Space, the Thomas Planetarium, and the TOTE KidSpace – all open and ready for a visit. When you check out Planetarium Hall, you'll be awed by the moon rock on display – 3.3 billion years old and collected by the crew on the 1971 Apollo 15 mission.
Located at Homer High School, the Mariner Theater is located in Homer – known as Alaska’s Art Capital. Found in southern Alaska, Mariner hosts community performances like December’s annual Nutcracker event, and houses the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra.
The Mariner Theater – along with other performing art centers like Homer Theatre and Pier One Theatre – are operated in part by the Homer Council on the Arts. These Homer cultural sites host concerts, plays, comedy, and more.
Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum
Set in Chugach National Forest in southern Alaska, the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum is located in Valdez. The site commemorates the famed Whitney couple coming to Alaska in 1947, and creating this current collection.
Set on campus at the Prince William Sound Community College, the Whitney Museum exhibits a massive assortment of Native Alaskan artifacts. Other exhibits focus on Alaska’s natural history, native artwork, and even mounted Alaskan wildlife.
Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry
Located in Wasilla, the Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry features exhibits commemorating the history of transportation and industry in the state. Open from mid-May through early September, the museum can be visited seven days a week in the summer months.
Guests of all ages are welcome to take a step back into the early days of transportation and industrialization in the harsh state of Alaska as it journeyed to keep pace with the rest of the rapidly industrializing nation. The Museum features an array of airplanes vital to the states history as it was originally opened as the Air Progress Museum in 1967.
Oscar Anderson House Museum
One of Alaska's more charming museums, the Oscar Anderson House Museum is in downtown Anchorage, just along the banks of Knik Arm Lake. Travel in from Wasilla and check out the Oscar Anderson House Museum – built in 1915 by Oscar Anderson himself.
There are many ways to experience the history of Anchorage and Alaska – make the Oscar Anderson House Museum one of those. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Oscar Anderson House Museum will give you a peak at what life was like in the early days of Anchorage.
The only natural history museum located on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, the Pratt Museum holds the key to much of the history of the Kechamak Bay region. Located in Homer, the Pratt Museum was originally named for Sam and Vega Pratt, the couple who donated the land on which the museum was built.
Featuring both indoor and outdoor exhibits showcasing art, history, botanical gardens, and nature to name a few, the museum encompasses broad historical perspective of the region. The Pratt Museum boasts several awards throughout its history, including the 2011 Arts Leadership and Advocacy.
Found near Waterfront Park, the Seward Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, like Native American baskets, photographs, documents, and ivory carvings, telling the story of Seward. During the summer months, visit the museum to view "The History of Seward" and "The History of the Iditarod Trail" special slide shows.
The 1903 founding of Seward is celebrated annually at the museum on August 28. Stop by the museum gift shop to browse the selection of books, and gift items to round out your museum tour. Visit this coastal Alaskan town in Resurrection Bay, to find out why "Alaska starts here".
Soldotna Historical Society Museum
Free to the public, the Soldotna Historical Society Museum is open throughout the summer in Soldotna – and by appointment the rest of the year. Located in southern Alaska, the museum features Native American artifacts, wildlife exhibits, and more.
Open mid-May to mid-September, Soldotna Historical Society Museum also showcases a living museum – including a historic log village and territorial schoolhouse. Lectures are also available by appointment.
Valdez Museum & Historical Archive
Formed in 1997, the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to learn about rich history of Valdez. This downtown Valdez museum plenty of permanent historical exhibits, like They Came for Gold, Disaster on Good Friday, A Beacon from the Past, Richardson Highway, and more.
Too, the A New Valdez exhibit provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about this Alaskan city. Schedule plenty of time to stroll through the second museum, Remembering Old Valdez, located a few blocks away.