Alaska is gearing up for a number of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of statehood next year.
One of the most visited attractions in Anchorage, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, will join the party by kicking off the first phase of its planned 90,000-square-foot expansion with an exhibit titled "Gold," in honor of the state's golden anniversary.
The inaugural exhibit, which will include a gold-plated room and gold artifacts from sunken Spanish galleons, will be held in a new four-story, glass-walled space, one of several new facilities and spaces that will be unveiled to the public on May 30.
The expansion also includes the Chugach Gallery, a panoramic viewing area of the mountains that surround Anchorage.
By the spring of 2010, the final phases of the museum's expansion will reveal 600 important Alaska Native artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution, a 530-square-foot planetarium and hands-on science galleries for visitors of all ages.