University of Alaska Museum of the North
Voted the “Best Museum in Alaska,” the University of Alaska Museum of the North is a vital component of UAF’s research and education facilities as well as a thriving visitor attraction.
The museum’s research collections hold more than 1.4 million artifacts and specimens representing millions of years of biodiversity and more than 11,000 years of cultural traditions in the North. These collections form the foundation for the museum’s exhibits and education programs and serve as a critical source of data for issues unique to the circumpolar North. Using the collections, university students work with the museum’s faculty curators on original research aimed at interpreting the region’s dynamic environment and cultures.
The museum’s Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery features 2,000 years of Alaska art — from ancient ivory carvings to contemporary sculptures. In the Gallery of Alaska, exhibit highlights include the state’s largest gold display, extensive displays of Alaska Native art and artifacts, and Blue Babe, a 36,000-year-old mummified steppe bison.
In 2014, the museum began a five-year project to renovate the Gallery of Alaska. The current exhibit was installed in 1980 with minimal improvements in the intervening years. Since then, Alaska, the world and our understanding of it has changed. There are many new stories to tell. The new gallery will be immersive, allowing children and adults to engage with hands-on elements. By redesigning the casework and mounting techniques, the museum will also add to the sustained life of the collections. The new exhibits will be installed one section at a time, allowing the Gallery of Alaska to remain open to the museum’s nearly 90,000 annual visitors. The museum is raising funds from local and private sources to complete the project by 2018.
The museum also hosts several special exhibits each year. In addition, the museum presents artists’ residencies, lectures and family programs on a variety of Alaska topics, and runs the museum store, featuring Alaska jewelry, books and Alaska Native artwork.