Located on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this museum is the only research and teaching museum in the state. It houses more than 1.4 million artifacts and specimens, with collections that include Alaskan art spanning more than 2,000 years, paintings, sculptures and ancient ivory carvings. Exhibits include a 36,000-year-old mummified bison nicknamed the Blue Kid and the largest public display of Alaskan gold in the state. A special exhibit, “The Place You Go to Listen,” is a sound and light installation controlled by the position of the sun and moon in real time. Special lectures and family programs are held throughout the year, and art, jewelry and crafts are available for purchase in the museum store.
A futuristic building was built especially for the museum’s collection. Each hall is responsible for a particular direction. Historical, geographical and cultural halls are the largest. Notable exhibits are mummified ancient bison and Inuit products. The museum has a gallery displaying artists whose work is related to Alaska and a botanical garden.
Locals and visitors alike commented that the museum offers much information about the people, animals and history of northern Alaska, as well as a second floor dedicated to Alaskan art. Most were impressed with the unique building, friendly staff and small café, and some noted that local hotels offer shuttle service to the museum. Others recommended adding a movie screening of “Dynamic Aurora,” saying it was worth the extra $5.
The museum is on the UAF campus – about 6 miles northwest of downtown. If you don’t have your own wheels, the blue MACS Transit line makes a stop here. The museum is open daily in the summer (June 1 through August 31) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and in the winter (September 1 through May 31) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is $12 for adults (ages 15 and up) and $7 for youth (ages 5 to 14). Visit the museum website for directions or to see a schedule of special events and programs.