In summer 2009, planting crews brought to life the museum's new landscape design plans, which include a 2-acre common that celebrates the environment.
The museum's landscape architect, Charles Anderson, was inspired by one of the most enigmatic and dynamic icons of the Southcentral Alaska landscape – the birch tree. The common features an urban birch forest with trees harvested from regional commercial developments.
A series of benches provide a place to have lunch, chat with friends and capitalize on summer light. A large grassy area spills from the new museum entrance into the heart of the museum site, a natural setting for gatherings and outdoor activities.