This world-class facility is Anchorage’s cultural jewel. The West Wing, a four-story, shimmering, mirrored facade, adds 80,000 sq ft to what was already the largest museum in the state, and a new wing was under construction at the time of writing. The museum's flagship exhibit is the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center (with more than 600 Alaska Native objects, such as art, tools, masks and household implements), which was previously housed in Washington, DC.
It’s the largest Alaska Native collection in the state and it’s surrounded by large video screens showing contemporary Alaska Native life. Nearby is the Listening Space, where you can listen to storytellers and natural sounds from arctic Alaska.
The museum also contains the Imaginarium Discovery Center, a hands-on science center for children that was previously housed in a separate downtown location. On the 1st floor of the original East Wing you will still find the Art of the North Gallery, with entire rooms of Alaskan masters Eustace Ziegler and Sydney Laurence. On the 2nd floor, the Alaska History Gallery is filled with life-size dioramas that trace 10,000 years of human settlement, from early subsistence villages to modern oil dependency.
There are also galleries devoted to traveling art exhibits, a planetarium and the KidSpace Gallery, which is designed for young children (and their parents) to explore the worlds of art, history and science through hands-on play. Clearly, this is a place where you can spend an entire afternoon.