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The main attraction at this multi-galleried museum is the Alaska Gallery, which features more than 1,000 pieces of history, artwork and photography by Alaskans. Five other galleries are housed in the downtown-area museum, showcasing a variety of temporary exhibits from all over the world, as well as a Children's Gallery that is sure to delight visiting families. Visitors to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center can also attend after-hours events, art classes, and lectures that are sure to spark the imagination.
The outstanding collection at the Wells Fargo Museum was created in 1968 by the National Bank of Alaska and is dedicated to providing insight into native Alaskan culture and Alaskan history. It is one of the largest privately owned public displays within Alaska. The exhibits include artifacts as much as 2,000 years old, paintings from the best-known names in Alaskan history, hand-crafted baskets from each of the state's native groups, a collection of 1895 rifles, a collection of ivory carvings and more than 2,800 rare books about Alaska and its natives. Admission is free.
Since 1990, this museum's displays have educated the public on Alaska's rich natural history. All of the items collected by the museum have been donated or loaned by Alaska residents. Permanent exhibits include collections of Alaska dinosaurs and marine reptiles, Alaskan archaeology, and Alaskan paleontology. The museum holds the largest exhibits of Alaskan rock, mineral and fossils, and also showcases native artifacts dating back 11,000 years. From time-to-time, the museum also presents traveling exhibits from the Lower 48. Most exhibits are fascinating for people of all ages.
Planes dating from 1924-1960 are located here, painstakingly restored, and situated next to recorded entries and information about their use and pilots. Pioneer aviators' gear and brief biographies are in the main building. Placard after placard relate stories of these aviation heroes, many of whose lives were ended prematurely by their dangerous occupation. WWII artifacts and accounts are here also, giving testament to the prominent role Alaska played during that war.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is remarkable for its programs, life-sized village displays, craft-making workstations and friendly, knowledgeable Alaskan Native staff. This museum presents 11 distinct cultural groups of Alaska within its 26 acres (10 hectares) and is a must-see for anyone interested in knowing Alaska's history and its native people's way of life. Located just ten minutes east of downtown, the grounds are bordered by the Chugach Mountains. Expect to be entranced by storytelling, drumming, hands-on crafts and Native dancers. A gift store and cafe are onsite.