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No Matter Where You Go in Alaska, History Awaits

From Fairbanks’ state-of-the-art Museum of the North and quirky-as-can-be Fairbanks Ice Museum, to historic downtown Wasilla’s Dorothy G. Page Museum and the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan, Alaska is excited to share its vast and unique heritage with its visitors.

Aleutian World War II National Historic Area

Highlighting an important landmark of World War II, the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area can be found southwest of Anchorage. The monument preserves the natural and cultural history of the area alongside the remains of Fort Schwatka, which served an important role in the Pacific Theatre of the war as a coastal defense.

Today, the area educates the public on the history of the Aleut people and the posts designed to defend the United States during wartime. The visitor center is located at the Unalaska airport and a few miles from the shipping docks. Visitors can reach Unalaska through the Alaska Marine Highway or through commercial flights from Anchorage.

Independence Mine State Historical Park

Found in the town of Willow – just a short drive from Wasilla – the Independence Mine State Historical Park preserves the once booming mining communities of the Alaska Free Gold Mine and Independence Mine from the 1940s.

The park houses a variety of actual mining buildings available for exploration, including bunkhouses, engineering offices, shops, and more.

Guests are encouraged to stop the visitor center and museum as well – housing plenty of artifacts and displays telling of the Independence Mine’s intriguing history.

What’s more, due to the park’s location in Hatcher Pass – between Skyscraper Mountain and Granite Mountain – outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful as well.

Totem Heritage Center

Open since 1976, the Totem Heritage Center preserves original 19th century Haida and Tlingit village totem poles. The totem poles were found in the uninhabited village sites, not far from Ketchikan.

Visit the center to view the poles as well as Native American artifacts and other totem poles. The center also showcases Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida traditional arts and crafts.

Sign up for an art class, workshop or seminar to learn about the Northwest Coast Native cultures. Students may also earn University of Alaska credit or a Certificate of Merit.

Alaska Native Heritage Center

Ten years after its original incorporation, the Alaska Native Heritage Center opened its doors in May of 1999. Located in Anchorage, the mission of this non-profit organization is to share, perpetuate and preserve the languages and cultures native to the state of Alaska.

Native storytellers and dancers perform for guests and dwellings and games offer a unique opportunity to experience life in the native tribes. Exhibits range from Iditarod Dogsledding to the Hall of Cultures to the Theatre, where visitors can view movies on the life and various cultural aspects of Alaska’s 11 major cultural groups.

Iñupiat Heritage Center

Preserving the heritage of the Iñupiat people and their relationship with the land above the Arctic Circle, the Iñupiat Heritage Center is located in Barrow, very far north from Fairbanks.

If you come visit this remote place, be sure to experience the sights and exhibitions that detail the Iñupiat way of life in the harsh Alaskan tundra.

See exhibits on whaling, historical images, artifacts, local celebrations and special events, hunting methods, and contemporary life versus historical life.

Museum of the North 

Set on campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Permanent features include the Arctic Archival Observatory, the Alaska Center for Documentary Film, and collections of art, natural history, and regular history.

Alaska State Museum

Soon to be relocated to the State Library, Archives & Museum. Focusing on the history, art, and most importantly, people of Alaska, this museum has been around since 1900.

Seward Museum

Breaks down the influence of the Seward family on this corner of Alaska. The site showcases the Seward House with daily tours of this National Historic Landmark.

Dorothy G. Page Museum & Historic Town Site

Commemorating the “Mother of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race."