University of Alaska Museum of the NorthExplore > United States > Fairbanks > University of Alaska Museum of the North
The museum's research collections – 1.4 million artifacts and specimens – represent millions of years of biological diversity and thousands of years of cultural traditions in the North. The collections are organized into 10 disciplines (archaeology, birds, documentary film, earth sciences, ethnology/history, fine arts, fishes/marine invertebrates, insects, mammals, and plants) and serve as a valuable resource for research on climate change, genetics, contaminants and other issues facing Alaska and the circumpolar North. The museum is also the premier repository for artifacts and specimens collected on public lands in Alaska and a leader in northern natural and cultural history research.
These collections form the foundation for the museum's research, education programs and exhibits. Exhibit highlights include a 2,000-year spectrum of Alaska art, from ancient ivory carvings to contemporary paintings and sculpture, in the Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery; the state's largest public display of gold and Blue Babe, a 36,000-year-old mummified steppe bison, in the Gallery of Alaska; and an ever-changing sound and light installation driven by the real-time positions of the sun and moon, seismic activity and the aurora in The Place Where You Go to Listen. The museum offers special exhibits, lectures and family programs on a variety of topics throughout the year.
Museum members receive free admission to the exhibit galleries throughout the year, invitations to exclusive member events, and a 10% discount at the Museum Store, which offers a wide variety of Alaska Native artwork, jewelry, books and other merchandise. All material in the store relates to the museums collections, and all proceeds support the museum's operations.
The University of Alaska Museum has been around since the earliest days of the University of Alaska. In 1926, at University President Charles Bunnell's request, local naturalist Otto Geist traveled throughout Alaska collecting ethnographic and archeological artifacts. In 1929, the Museum invited the public to celebrate its grand opening, displaying Geist's acquisitions and the University's small painting collection. These items were the University of Alaska Museum's first northern treasures.
After statehood, the Museum's growth followed waves of rapidly changing times in Alaska. In 1961, the federally created Alaska Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at the University transferred its mammal, bird, and plant collections to the Museum. In 1970, the Museum acquired existing fish and marine invertebrates collections, as well as the Institute of Northern Forestry's plant collection from the U.S. Forest Service. After the 1970s pipeline boom, money flowed into the Museum to expand and diversify its art and ethnology collections. In the 1980s, federal and state resource management legislation prompted the collection of new natural and cultural history material from across Alaska. In 1991, the Museum created the Alaska Frozen Tissue Collection, a regional collection of zoological materials supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and others. In 1993, in compliance with the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, the Museum began the process of returning human remains and other sensitive items from the Museum's archeology collection to Alaska Native villages across the state.
When To Visit
The museum is open year round on the UAF campus.
May 15 - September 15, 2012
Daily 9 AM - 7 PM
September 16, 2012 - May 14, 2013
Mon-Sat: 9 AM - 5 PM
Closed Sundays, Thanksgiving and Christmas
$10 general admission
$9 senior (60+)
$5 youth (7-17)
Free for museum members, UA students with ID and children under 7.
Movie Ticket: $5 / Audio Guide: $4
How To Get Here
The museum is located on the UAF campus in Fairbanks. Visitor parking for cars and recreational vehicles is available adjacent to the museum. Visit Maps and Directions for more detailed information.