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Approach

Updating the Museum’s history gallery 30 years after it first opened is an important project for the Museum and one that has been in the planning for many years. The project represents new thinking about the ways museums represent culture and history: posing critical questions rather than assuming answers.

It is important to update how we talk about history to involve all voices, including Indigenous cultures in Alaska. The way we display objects and the way we include multiple voices and perspectives is vital to telling the stories and history of Alaska. Also important is to recognize how the past continues to speak to contemporary issues, to look at the changes in Alaska’s population and landscape, and to encourage critical thinking.

The process has included curators, conservators, exhibition designers, artists, historians, community members, educators, docents, and many others. And, it has involved visitors like you, whose curiosity about, interest in, and love of Alaska fuel everything we do.

Alaska Is

  • Landscape Adaptation Resources
  • Frenzy | Change Wilderness
  • Strategic Engineering Cold
  • On the edge
  • Boom and bust

Opens Sept. 15, 2017

THE ALASKA EXHIBITION

Alaska is a land of contrasts and extremes, a complex social and natural landscape that lends itself to myth and cliché. The new Alaska exhibition tells the story of Alaska through multiple voices and perspectives reflecting the ingenuity, technology, ways of knowing and intimate understanding of the landscape that have allowed people to survive and thrive across the North.

The exhibition is organized by 15 themes reflecting essential aspects of life in Alaska, both today and throughout the state’s rich history. These themes reveal the identity of Alaska and its people.

On view are more than 400 objects from the Anchorage Museum’s collections, including several acquired or on loan especially for this new exhibition.

Visitors will experience immersive installations throughout the exhibition with elements of sculpture, video and interactivity, soundscapes, moving images and cinematic narratives with participative moments.

The visitor journey follows an intuitive clockwise path that begins and ends at the same point. Visitors move forward in time, exploring themes and absorbing Alaska’s history as it relates to contemporary issues.

At the heart of the gallery is a central space featuring the people and stories of Alaska through a growing archive of biographies and images. The space is a gathering place and will host artists and performances, school groups, readings, storytelling and special events. Visitors may also explore a complementary gallery for temporary exhibitions related to Northern narratives, which opened this past May.

Together, these elements invite visitors to consider for themselves what Alaska really is: what is real, what is myth, and what lives in the space in between.

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Project Perspectives

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Support

While grants will fund construction and renovation, your support will make it possible to conserve and care for the many paintings, objects and artifacts that will be on view in the new galleries. Support the re-envisioned Alaska gallery today, and we’ll memorialize your gift with a personalized block on the Alaska Community Donor Wall. Blocks also make great gifts for friends or family.