The numerous museums and historical attractions in Anchorage give a glimpse into the rich cultural background of the Alaska state. The view itself is bound to be fascinating but exploring its museums and art galleries will unravel millennia of history, giving you deeper insight.
Here are some of the best museums and art galleries in Anchorage, Alaska:
As Alaska’s largest museum, the Anchorage Museum weaves together social, political, historical, cultural, scientific, and artistic threads. If you are interested in exploring the whole diversity of Alaska’s Native culture, this should be your first stop.
In addition to masterworks of Alaska’s Native art from the Smithsonian Institution, you will also get hands-on scientific experiences with a planetarium, marine life tanks, and much more.
In summer (May to September), the Anchorage Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In winter (October to April), they are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They remain closed on Sundays but open on Monday’s from noon to 6 p.m.
Admission for members is free and the admission fee for other visitors may vary depending on the individual. More information can be found on their official page.
The Alaska Veterans Museum lays out Alaska’s unique history of how it came to be what it is today. From stories of the last shot of the Civil War, a silk nightgown made for a beloved wife, to the stories of the forgotten brave Eskimo Scouts, this museum brings Alaska’s military history to life.
With a wide variety of exhibits and artifacts dating from the Civil War to the most recent conflicts and veteran’s oral history – there’s something for everyone who’s fascinated by military history.
Membership fees range from $30-$300. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They remain closed Sunday through Tuesday.
If you find the transition of man from prehistoric times to the present day fascinating, Alaska Museum of Science & Nature should be your first stop. With the aim of filling the special need for science education in Alaska, this museum focuses exclusively on the ecological, cultural, and geological aspects of Alaska’s history.
With hands-on exhibits ranging from dinosaurs, rocks, whales, and the Ice age, among others, it is no surprise why the Alaska Museum of Science & Nature is called a hidden gem in Anchorage.
There are activities for all ages. In the kids’ room, they feature a dinosaur dig and a saddled mammoth. They are open from Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They remain closed from Sunday through Wednesday.
With the rich aviation history the Alaska Aviation Museum presents, it remains ranked among the top 5 attractions in Anchorage. Located at Anchorage International Airport (the world’s busiest seaplane base), it hosts aircraft and artifacts that are fascinating, and relevant and meaningful in defining Alaska’s history.
Among Alaska’s Aviation Museum top attractions include its 4 hangars of exhibits and vintage aircraft, a restoration hangar, control tower, and flight simulators. Admission remains free to Alaska Aviation Museum Members. Other visitors are required to pay $15 for adults and $5 for children aged 5-17.
In addition to the flight simulators and vintage airplane fly-by over Lake Hood, there are more interesting activities such as live music, food truck carnival, beer, wine garden, and more.
The Alaska Heritage Museum is the largest of its kind in all of Alaska. Besides a wide array of Alaskan Native artifacts and fine art from Alaskan artists, they feature Wells Fargo history from the Alaskan Gold Rush era.
Exhibits include a variety of Native artifacts such as ivory carvings and hand-woven Native baskets, traditional clothing, paintings by popular Alaskan artists such as Sydney Laurence, Eustace Ziegler, and Fred Machetanz, among others, and a traditional sea kayak covered in seal skin.
They are open daily from Monday through Friday starting noon to 4 p.m.
Situated 2,280 feet above sea level, the Roundhouse is the only mountain top museum in Alaska. Its distinctive octagonal shape had first served as a warming hut, before later becoming a popular gathering place.
As the story goes, 11 Girdwood residents half a century ago raised enough money to purchase what would become the land base to a major ski area. It was through initiative and continuous perseverance that the 11 were able to form the Alyeska Ski Corporation.
After its launch in 1960, Alyeska Ski Resort quickly became the largest ski area in Alaska. Besides hosting major ski competitions, it is also known as the spot where 1944 Olympic gold and silver medalist, Tommy Moe spent his early teen years skiing.
Opened in 1999, the Alaska Native Heritage Center acts as an educational and cultural institution for Alaskans. Visitors get a glimpse of the cultural heritage of the 9 distinctive cultural groups that call Alaska home.
These 9 groups are Athabascan, Inupiaq/St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Yup’ik/Cup’ik, Aleut, Alutiiq, and the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples.
Situated on 29 wooded acres, the Alaska Native Heritage Center comprises a theatre, the Hall of Cultures, and a gathering place which hosts activities and demonstrations.
In summer, they are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come winter, they remain closed except for selective Saturdays when they are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At first sight, you might easily misjudge it for its small size. However, that changes when you are met with wonderful displays that tell the story of Alaska’s Jewish residents and how they contributed to the growth of present-day Alaska’s culture, industries, and government.
It acts as a historical repository and gathering place with an aim of helping to build cultural bridges so as to promote diversity and tolerance among Alaskans – while enriching the cultural wealth of the broader Alaskan community.
In summer, they are open Sunday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Anchorage is no doubt home to some of the richest history in the entire U.S., and for that, you should expect high visitor numbers – especially in the peak seasons. Therefore, it goes without saying that proper planning is bound to give you the best experience.
Make sure to visit the respective websites of the museums you wish to explore so as to acquaint yourself with lined up events, visiting hours, as well as admission fees.