About Polar Lab

The Anchorage Museum resides in a North that is pivotal to the world — not a frontier, but a horizon. Poised in the North and at the edge of the Arctic, the Anchorage Museum is the venue for sparking ideas and the Lab is a place of active investigation and dialogue. Through it, we look at the contemporary and future North through exhibitions and programs. Contemporary art, along with traditional and non-traditional research in multiple disciplines, stimulates the activity of the Lab.


Urban Harvest

Learn traditional skills, along with their history and modern contexts, in this series of five classes for the urban homesteader.

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A space + a new way of thinking and creating, envisioning positive futures for the North.


Mary Mattingly

Mary Mattingly creates “living sculptures” that function as an ecosystem.



Forty years after hip-hop culture was born in the South Bronx district of New York City, its foundational creative forms, or “four elements,” are taking on new life with Indigenous artists of the Circumpolar North.


Wilderness Week

Examine and celebrate the ideas and values around “wilderness” and how Anchorage and Alaska culture is shaped by its physical environment.

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Pablo Helguera Librería Donceles

Created by New York-based artist and educator Pablo Helguera, Librería Donceles encourages social engagement through multilingual conversations, performances and workshops.

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TERRA Installation

Using off-the-shelf technology to deliver content is a new strategy for the museum. This project serves as an entry point for conversation, meditation, exploration, education and awareness of the Arctic.


Material Traditions


Derek Coté

Derek Coté is interested in the Arctic’s historical, global reputation as a cold, desolate and unfavorable place––in contrast to the currently developing vision of the Arctic as a rich, textured and valuable environment that is being accessed at an increasing rate due to receding ice floes and resource scarcity.

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Aiviq and Nanuq: Sea Horse and Sea Bear of the Arctic

New and existing artworks by Northern artists present the Arctic through depictions of two iconic animals that depend upon sea ice: the walrus and the polar bear.



Seattle artist John Grade explores sculptural forms that suggest floats. Glass fishing floats have been making their way to the Alaska Arctic coast from Asia on ocean currents for the past century.


Ellis Doeven Maktak and Gasoline: The People of Point Hope

This exhibition highlights the community of Point Hope, a small Iñupiaq village in northwest Alaska, as revealed through the photography by Ellis Doeven.

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Northern Art Network

The Anchorage Museum is a founding member of the Northern Art Network. The Network is an association of museums and cultural institutions throughout the Circumpolar North.


Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People

The Sámi are the indigenous people living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. This exhibition features works that offer a 21st century perspectives on Sámi art and politics.


Acacia Johnson Portraits of Place: The Arctic in Photographs


Vox Van

The Vox Van project transforms an old utility van into a mobile story-gathering unit as part of marking the founding of Anchorage in 1915. In the summer of 2014, the van parked and engaged community members. Voices of Anchorage were video recorded, leading to a contemporary sense of people and place.


Alaska Teen Media Institute

The Anchorage Museum collaborates with the Alaska Teen Media Institute to explore life in the North through the perspective of young filmmakers.

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Design District

New downtown design district envisions vitality, diversity and collaboration


Polar Lab: Collective

Polar Lab: Collective is a program for emerging Alaska Native artists to study the collections of the Anchorage Museum and the objects in the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center's Living Our Cultures exhibition.


Curated Conversations

The Anchorage Museum hosts conversations on issues important to the contemporary and future Circumpolar North as part of our Think Up Here series.