Vacationers to Sitka have an opportunity to visit the Sheldon Jackson Museum and see 5,000 pieces of native Alaskan artwork and artifacts. Listed on the National Historical Register in 1972, the Sheldon Jackson Museum, which was built in 1895, is the oldest museum in the state and the first concrete building in Alaska. Its status makes it a choice shore excursion for travelers interested in local history and the history of Alaska.
As the general agent of education in the 1890s for the state, the Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson made numerous trips throughout his career to remote regions of Alaska collecting a wide range of articles. These articles were the basis for establishing the extensive collection of native art displayed at the museum.
Exhibits at the Sheldon Jackson Museum include handcrafted baskets from the Athabaskan, Eskimo, Tlingit, and Aleut cultures; Eskimo masks; traditional ornamental clothing; totems; and carved sculptures. The displays also contain larger pieces including full-size baidarka (sea kayaks) and many smaller pieces that include handmade jewelry and traditional children's toys, displayed in glass showcases to allow visitors a close look.
The Sheldon Jackson Museum is open daily for self-guided tours; its summer hours are 9 am until 5 pm from mid-May through mid-September. Winter hours are 10 am until 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday from mid-September through mid-May. The museum is closed on holidays.