Myriad museums offer many perspectives on the past

ANCHORAGE -- Alaska's museums offer a glimpse into the state's colorful past -- the frenzy of its gold rushes, its native cultures and the evolution of its wildlife.

Such facilities abound from the far north to the extreme southern end of the Inside Passage coastal strip.

A handy pamphlet produced by Museums Alaska lists most of them. Some of the facilities require payment of an entrance fee; others are free. For a copy of a pamphlet, write to Museums Alaska, Box 242323, Anchorage, Alaska 99524. The Web site is at

Here are details of some of the museums listed in the publication. (All telephone numbers are in area code 907 unless otherwise stated).

  • Anaktuvuk Pass. Simon Paneak Memorial Museum, north of the Arctic Circle, contains exhibits of the traditions and lifestyle of the Nunamiut Eskimo people. Phone 661-3413.
  • The following facilities are in Anchorage:

  • The Imaginarium is a hands-on science center, with a tidepool, a planetarium and more. Call 276-3179.
  • Oscar Anderson House is a 1915-vintage structure that reflects the early history of Alaska's largest city. Call 274-2336.
  • Alaska Native Heritage Center is the state's newest major attraction. It features the lifestyles and cultures of five indigenous peoples. Call (800) 315-6608 or (907) 380-8000.
  • Alaska State Trooper Museum presents a history of law enforcement in Alaska's largest city. Call (800) 770-5050.
  • Barrow. Inupiat Heritage Center focuses on the language and lore of the Inupiaq people. Call 852-4594.
  • Copper Center. George Ashby Memorial Museum houses an exhibit of the area's gold and copper mining past. Call 822-5285.
  • Fairbanks. Alaskaland Pioneer Air Museum is a storehouse of memorabilia from the state's bush pilot history. Call 452-5609.
  • Juneau. In the Juneau-Douglas City Museum it is possible to study the development of Alaska's capital city. Call 586-3572.
  • K'Beq: Kenaitze Indian Tribe facility offers a look at the ancient Athabascan culture. Call 283-3633.
  • Kodiak. Baranov Museum offers a collection of historic and prehistoric artifacts from the Aleutian Islands and the Kodiak Archipelago. Call 486-5920.
  • Petersburg. Clausen Memorial Museum is dedicated to the harvest of the surrounding seas. Call 772-3598.
  • Seward. Resurrection Bay Historical Society presents Seward's history through photographs, artifacts and official documents. Call 224-3902.
  • Seward. Alaska SeaLife Center is a marine wildlife research and treatment center financed by the restitution fund established by Exxon Corp. after the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster. Call (800) 224-2525.
  • Sitka. Russian Bishop's House contains vivid reminders of the days of the Russian fur trade and the role played by the early Russian settlers and the Russian Orthodox Church. Call 747-6281.
  • Skagway. Klondike Gold Rush International Historic Park contains Gold Rush-era artifacts, photographs and historical records. Call 983-2921.
  • Talkeetna. Historical Society is noted for its mining, railroad and aviation displays -- and its 12-foot scale model of Mount McKinley. Call 733-2487.
  • Wrangell. Tribal House of the Bear, with a replica of Chief Shakes Tribal House. Call 874-3747.
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