Want to know more about Palmer's history as part of the Matanuska Colonist project? Or are you interested in Wasilla's gold mining history? Perhaps Alaska's aviation history, or the culture of mountain climbing in Talkeetna? Luckily, all that and more can be found at one of the many museums around the Mat-Su Valley, all of which showcase our culture, our history and our diversity.
Next week, take a minute and stop in at a local museum - June 2-8 is officially Alaska Museum Week, and it's a great opportunity to learn more about our history. Alaska Museum Week is a celebration of Alaska museums, and is designed to raise awareness of Alaska museums as centers of education, community anchors, economic engines, employers and stewards of history and culture.
Locally, you have many options to learn more. In Palmer, the Colony House Museum covers the Colony project, and the Palmer Museum of History and Art is filled with displays of Palmer's past. You can also take a guided walking tour of the downtown area. Further north on the Glenn Highway in Sutton, the Alpine Historical Park is a great stop to learn more about the Athabascan heritage of the Chickaloon area.
In Wasilla, the Wasilla Museum outlines the mining history of the area, and includes the original townsite buildings, so you can see what it was like during the town's early years. The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry just north of Wasilla highlights Alaska's aviation history, as well as exhibits like Alaska Railroad cars, U.S. Air Force jets and more. Along Knik-Goose Bay Road, you have two options. The first is the Iditarod Trail Headquarters, which is filled with information and displays about the famed dog race. Further down the road, Knik Museum and Mushers Hall of Fame honors the heritage and culture of the Knik area. Knik was an important village and trade center for Native Alaskans long before miners, trappers, tradesmen and homesteaders arrived.
Further north along the Parks Highway in Talkeetna, the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum is a great opportunity to learn about Talkeetna's role as a transportation hub for early miners and trappers. They also have an amazing display about Denali and the early years of mountain climbing. And while not technically a museum, the Walter Harper Ranger Station in Talkeetna is filled with artifacts from early Denali climbing missions.
Take some time to visit a local museum and you'll find out countless things you never new about the Mat-Su Valley.