University of Alaska Museum of the North

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Cupik kayak stanchions in the museum collection
Current museum building

The University of Alaska Museum of the North is housed on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.


The museum's mission is to acquire, conserve, investigate, and interpret specimens and collections relating to the natural, artistic, and cultural heritage of Alaska and the Circumpolar North. Through education, research, and public exhibits, the museum serves the state, national, and international science programs. The museum develops and uses botanical, geological, zoological, and cultural collections; these collections form the basis for understanding past and present issues unique to the North and meeting the challenges of the future.

Founding and history[edit]

Signer's Hall at UAF. From the early 1960s to the mid-1980s, the building was known as the Otto W. Geist Building and housed the museum, before moving to the West Ridge of the campus.

The museum, formerly known as the University of Alaska Museum, was housed in what is now known as Signers' Hall for much of its history. It was mandated as part of the original legislation establishing the university in 1917. In 1924, Charles E. Bunnell, then-president of the university, directed Otto Geist to collect items for display in the museum. The museum had no one single location until 1936, when it was housed in Signers' Hall. Before that, the collections were displayed or stored in several locations around the campus.

Over time, the collections overflowed the space, and a capital campaign was begun in 1975 to build a new museum. The campaign was completed in 2001 and the new building opened to the public in late 2005, with some galleries opening in 2006.


Chilkat blanket in the collection
  • Alaska Center for Documentary Film
  • Alaska Frozen Tissue Collection
  • Arctic Archival Observatory
  • Archeology Collections
  • Earth Sciences Collection
  • Entomology Collection
  • Ethnology Collection
  • History Collection
  • Fine Arts Collection
  • Herbarium
  • Fish, Amphibian, and Reptile Collections
  • Mammal Collection
  • Marine Invertebrates Collection
  • Bird Collection

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 64°51′31″N 147°50′32″W / 64.8585°N 147.8423°W / 64.8585; -147.8423