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THE HISTORY AND IDENTITY OF ALASKA AND ITS PEOPLE

The philosophy that moves the Anchorage Museum forward guides how we create a narrative for place, culture and the environment.  
 
Re-envisioning 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 allow for ways 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.
 
Please join us in Fall 2017 as we unveil our new Alaska exhibition.

Approach

The 12,000 square-foot Alaska exhibition will tell the story of Alaska thematically, representing the essential aspects of life Alaska, both today and throughout its history.

The new Alaska exhibition will showcase the ingenuity, technology, ways of knowing and intimate understanding of the landscape that have allowed people to survive and thrive across the North. The issues that we face today are things that have been dealt with and adapted to for centuries. These big ideas are timeless.

Alaska is a story of place, and its people are the storytellers. The landscape affects the people who live here, and the landscape is affected by the people who make this place home. Alaska Native people are a critical part of that story. We are not just Alaska’s first people, we are a part of this place – its past, present and future.

This exhibition will present the history of Alaska as it informs the present – to be understood together through a series of key themes, including people, the landscape, adaptation, cold, boom and bust, and Alaska’s strategic position in the world.

The gallery experience will include immersive installations with elements of sculpture, video and interactivity, soundscapes, moving images and cinematic narratives with participative moments throughout. Visitors will be engaged directly and encouraged to play, explore and learn by doing.

While the former Alaska gallery undergoes renovation, the Anchorage Museum has transformed several first-floor galleries into visible storage and a conservation lab. Visitors get to see what’s normally behind-the-scenes, learn about the new Alaska exhibition, opening fall 2017, and have the opportunity to discuss objects in the Anchorage Museum’s collection.

The Alaska exhibition is being designed in partnership with gsmprjct°.

Alaska Is

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

Project Perspectives

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