I love learning about the history of places and knew as soon as we started planning our trip to Alaska that I needed to find a great museum. The Anchorage Museum is definitely a great museum and a whole more. Beyond extensive exhibits on the history of Alaska, it’s also showcases the many cultures of Alaska, cool art and fun, interactive science exhibits.
We had just driven to Seward the day before for a boat cruise and learned about the Tsunami following the 1964 Earthquake. It basically destroyed the entire area. I pointed out the Tsunami evacuation signs that caught my eye as we drove home, definitely something I’d never seen before. Being born and raised in Arizona, I grew up almost clueless about the real effects of earthquakes. Seeing the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and it’s devastation enlightened me a bit but I didn’t realize it was something that affected Alaska too.
Alaska averages around 100 earthquakes a day which accounts for about 1/2 of all earthquakes in the United States. Of course most of them are small and go unnoticed. The museum has a cool display of real-time seismic data, so even if you can’t feel itm you can see when and where the earthquakes are happening. The Alaska Gallery is a permanent exhibit filled with exactly what I expected to find at the Anchorage museum. From animals and people to history and technology, it really showcases a complete view of Alaska. This was the last exhibit we visited and I could have definitely spent more time here.
Speaking of the culture, another permanent exhibit is the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center: Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska. It features videos with people from the various regions talking about their experiences, culture and history.
It also showcases some amazing cultural artifacts. I was truly amazed by the things created.
I didn’t find a Children’s Museum in Alaska but the Anchorage Museum has that covered too. They specifically have a little kids space dedicated to kids under 5.
Plus the Imaginarium Discovery Center is full of lots of hands on activities, perfect for kids of all ages.
Animals are well represented in the Anchorage Museum too, from art and their historical impact to stuffed ones and even a couple live ones.
We actually found a lot more art than we expected.
One of the really interesting exhibits currently on display is Gyre: The Plastic Ocean. It features art using marine debris. The colorful pieces are eye-catching but more importantly showcase the negative impact all that swirling trash makes in the ocean.
We only allowed a couple of hours to explore the museum and could have easily spent a couple more. It’s a great museum for both kids and adults and well worth the $15 admission (Kids 3-12 are only $7). I can’t wait to plan on another Alaska visit, the boys will LOVE the Imaginarium Discovery Center. Later this fall, Brick By Brick opens, an exhibit all about LEGO® Bricks! The Anchorage Museum is an all around great museum for families.