Alaska’s largest city has an exciting history that is best experienced in one of its fantastic museums. From art and culture to science and nature, there is a museum that appeals to every type of visitor. Here are four interesting museums that you should definitely include on your list of things to do while visiting Anchorage.
The Anchorage Museum houses captivating exhibitions on a range of topics spanning from art, history, science, and culture. As Alaska’s largest museum, this is a great place to visit after your work shift to learn about Anchorage and the state as a whole. Its permanent collection about native Alaskans features more than 600 stunning indigenous artifacts provided by the Smithsonian Institution.
In addition to permanent displays on the art of the North and the story of Alaska, the museum offers rotating exhibitions that showcase subjects like Tlingit art, Yup’ik masks, representation of indigenous people in media, and salmon culture. You’ll never get bored exploring its permanent and temporary exhibits, planetarium, film screenings, and calendar of talks and tours. The museum is open daily from 9 am – 6 pm May through September. Admission prices range from $12 – $18, but the first Friday of the month is free from 6 – 9 pm.
Oscar Anderson House Museum
This special museum was built in 1915 as the first wood-framed house in Anchorage. It homed Swedish immigrants Oscar and Elizabeth Anderson and their three children. Oscar Anderson moved to the area as part of a large wave of Scandinavian immigrants and eventually established businesses relating to aviation, coal mining, and meatpacking.
Located downtown in Elderberry Park, the house was donated to the city and put on the National Register of History Places in 1976. It has been preserved with authentic decor to serve as a museum that teaches the public about life in Anchorage in the early 20th century. For $10 you can take a trip into the past by enjoying an intimate 45-minute guided tour by a knowledgeable docent from noon to 4 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays. This unique piece of Anchorage history is a must-see on your list of landmarks to visit in Alaska.
Alaska Aviation Museum
Located near the airport on Lake Hood, the world’s busiest seaplane base, the Alaska Aviation Museum lets you experience both vintage and modern airplanes and helicopters up close. It boasts four hangars full of impressive aircraft and even more to see outside. The aircraft on display date back to World War I, and the museum specializes in aviation history during World War II.
Inside the museum, you can walk around and marvel at more than 25 airplanes, and then hop into a flight simulator complete with virtual reality (VR) to put yourself in the pilot’s seat. Outside, you can watch some of the planes fly by overhead and even sit in the air traffic control tower to keep track of them as they come and go. If you’re in town in July, make sure to check out the annual Alaska Aviation Festival that includes airplane demos, food trucks, and live music. Additional artifacts like pilots’ clothing, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, maps, and photos make this museum a rich, historical treasure. It’s open every day in the summer from 9 am – 5 pm, and admission prices range from $12 – $15.
Alaska Museum of Science and Nature
Step into the prehistoric Alaska era in this science and nature museum located in downtown Anchorage. From rocks and minerals to skeletons and skulls, this museum offers visitors engrossing, hands-on experiences to learn about geology and animals from the Ice Age to the present day. Within its collection of rocks and minerals, you’ll find pieces dating back to prehistoric forests that includes petrified trees and meteorites. All kinds of animal skeletons, bones, and skulls are on display, some of which you can touch and learn how to connect together.
The dinosaur exhibit with its stunning skeletons including the “Alaska T. Rex” (Albertosaurus) is a favorite among visitors. Birds and marine animals are also featured heavily, with a particular standout being Beluga whale skeleton. You can enjoy this remarkable window into Alaska’s extraordinary origins year-round from 10 am – 4 pm Thursday through Saturday for $8.
It could take multiple visits to absorb everything these museums have to offer. Consider a career opportunity in Anchorage so you can visit them as many times as you’d like. Take a look at our current job openings to get started.