The Anchorage Museum is one of the top 10 attractions in Alaska, and for good reason, too. Located in the largest city in the state, the museum features exhibits on Alaska’s culture, focusing on art, history, and science. If you’re planning a trip to Alaska and are arriving in Anchorage, visiting the museum is a great way to get oriented and choose the best things to do for your trip.
The Anchorage Museum of History and Art began as a private partnership to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia. This museum first opened in 1968, with an exhibition of 60 borrowed Alaska paintings, along with a collection of 2,500 historic and ethnographic objects on loan from the local historical society.
The collections at this museum in Anchorage work to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret cultural materials that represent the art and history of Alaska. The Anchorage Museum is home to some important collections of Alaska Native artifacts, historical and contemporary artwork, and other objects that reflect Alaska’s unique history. If you are interested in shopping for Native American art, the museum shop has been voted the best in Alaska. Additionally, anyone who enjoys seeing Alaska’s animals in the wild will love the animal paintings at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.
Permanent exhibits at the museum include the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, which boast upwards 600 Alaskan Native artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian based in Washington DC. The exhibit includes ceremonial objects, war helmets and masks, and clothing. Those interested in history will also enjoy the Alaska History Gallery, which focuses on the past 10,000 years of the area, including native culture, the Russian occupation, the Klondike Gold Rush, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, among other topics.
The Art of the North galleries include many different artworks by Alaskan artists, including a number of paintings by the state’s most well-known landscape artist, Sydney Laurence. If you’re interested in science or are traveling with kids, you’ll particularly enjoy the Imaginarium Discovery Center, which teaches visitors about local wildlife and other scientific topics; there is a planetarium as well as an earthquake simulator and a touch-tank for marine wildlife
The Anchorage Museum is open during the summer from 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week, and winter hours are 9 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 6 pm Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students, and members of the military, and $7 for children ages 3 through 12. Children under 2 are admitted free. After visiting the museum, be sure to spend some time exploring the fascinating city of Anchorage. If the Museum of History and Art has sparked an interest in Native American Cuture, check out the Alaska Native Heritage Center.