August 21, 2014
In 1986, Alaska’s Oil Boom had just turned bust, all the cool kids had Walkmans, and a gallon of gas cost 89 cents. A lot has changed. It’s time for the Anchorage Museum’s history gallery to do the same.
The museum has begun a planning process to renovate the Alaska History Gallery. Target date for completion is 2017, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase. Featuring more than 1,000 objects from the Anchorage Museum’s collection, the current gallery represents 10,000 years of Alaska history, including subsistence, the gold rush and World War II.
This exhibition is a visitor favorite and has served the museum well. But after three decades, the gallery can benefit from updates that reflect contemporary museum theory and practice.
Museum administration and curators will lead the process alongside interdisciplinary advisory groups. Input will come from the museum community, the public, exhibition development experts, and leaders in fields such as politics, economics and environmental science.
The revitalized gallery will feature up-to-date research and interpretation designed to engage all ages. Following best practices in contemporary exhibition design worldwide, the refreshed gallery will include more hands-on displays and multimedia. Decisions about individual objects won’t be made until the advisory and public processes are underway.
The museum’s broad goals include reflecting Alaska’s growing diversity and showing how Alaska has been central to world history from the moment the first people crossed the Bering Land Bridge to populate North and South America.
Our members and our community will play a key role in shaping this exhibition’s future. We will inform you about opportunities to participate in the public process. Look for future announcements in the member newsletter, and via website, e-mail and social media.