A massive $106 million expansion in 2009 transformed the Anchorage Museum (625 C St., 907/929-9200, www.anchoragemuseum.org, $10 adults, $8 seniors, $7 ages 3–12, younger children free) into the state’s largest (170,000 square feet) and finest museum.
One popular feature is the kid-friendly Imaginarium Discovery Center, with 80 hands-on science exhibits, including an amazing high-tech globe that displays today’s weather patterns, an air cannon, and pulley chairs. Many exhibits focus on Alaskan science, especially earthquakes and volcanoes. Also on the first level is a planetarium and a gallery of Alaskan art, including Sydney Laurence’s 6- by 10-foot oil of Mt. McKinley.
The upper levels contain galleries featuring contemporary Native Alaskan art, Alaskan history, and rotating shows. Don’t miss the amazing second-floor collection of some 600 archaeological pieces on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Museum.
In addition to exhibits, the Anchorage Museum has a fine gift shop and historical photos in the resource center. Watch Alaska films in the theater, or enjoy an upscale lunch at trendy Muse Restaurant (907/929-9210, www.marxcafe.com, closed Mon.). The museum is open daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (until 9 p.m. Thurs.) June–mid-September, and Sunday noon–6 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. mid-September–May.
In the summer, free hour-long tours are offered, and local artists sell their crafts in the atrium. Outside is a two-acre commons, perfect for summer afternoons.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition