Last year, when we surprised Mom with a trip up here during her fall break, we also bought a membership to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, thinking that it would be a great way for her to experience Alaska’s culture and history in one fell swoop, and so we’d have a place to explore and play, while staying warm during the winter months. Whenever you’re buying a membership to these types of places; museums, zoos, aquariums, and such, it’s always a gamble over whether or not you’ll get your money’s worth out of it. If you have four or more people in your family, the membership is usually the equivalent of two+ visits, so as long as we go at least three times, I’m happy with the purchase.
The Anchorage Museum has been a great membership to have! We’ve visited this museum nearly a dozen times now and have yet to take in everything. In addition to visiting with my mom last year, we’ve taken Micah’s mom twice, and gone a number of times ourselves. The membership we chose was for our family + two guests (grandparents) and that has proven to be the cherry on top. What really makes this place truly worthwhile is that it’s part art museum, part history museum, part science museum, part aquarium, and part children’s center. Really, something for everyone.
We managed to time our membership perfectly so that we went for the first time during Mom’s last visit and then visited with Mom and Dad the day before the membership expired. This visit was a special one as it was the first time that Caleb was actually interested in all the artwork. His favorite was by-far the otter sculpture painting in the first picture. It’s one of the most iconic pieces from the museum and he couldn’t stop talking about it, even after we left.
My Dad is one of those rare men who knows a little bit about everything and finds history especially fascinating. We actually had to leave him behind in the Alaskan History wing because he was reading every single information panel, but Caleb was quite the willing companion and stayed behind so “Granddad could read him stuff.”
It came as a surprise how interested Caleb was in the Native History room. With Micah being half Yupik, this room held a lot of significance for us and Micah enjoyed sharing more of his native heritage with his in-laws. Most of the exhibits here are geared towards older school-age children and adults and while there are plenty of Native artifacts and pieces to look at, we thought that Caleb wouldn’t be really engaged for another few years. Oh boy, were we wrong. He was absolutely captivated by all the pieces from so many different tribes and actually asked questions abut why they varied from tribe to tribe, even using the touch-screen to match the pieces in the exhibit in front of him to those on the screen. It did my heart good to see Caleb so interested in his dad’s culture and I hope we can continue to nurture Caleb’s connection to his native heritage. Our little albino eskimo. 🙂
The science & invention room of the museum is always packed, as is the aquarium & earth science room, but that’s merely the sign of a great exhibit. Some of the sections were a little old for Caleb and Sammy, but I look forward to many, many field trips here in the future!
We got lucky on this visit and happened to go on the opening day of their new traveling exhibit featuring Caleb’s favorite toy: LEGOS! Not only did they have giant models, artwork, and figurines on display, as well as a timeline of the history of Legos, but at the end there was a free play area with little tables set up and thousands upon thousands of building blocks to inspire imaginations. Caleb could have easily stayed there the entire day, but we hadn’t even visited the children’s wing yet, so after nearly half an hour of patient waiting on behalf of the adults, we said goodbye to the legos, surprisingly without tears, and went downstairs.
The children’s wing is designated for the littlest museum patrons and has proven to be the perfect way to spend a chilly afternoon. There’s a climbing structure to play in (I believe it’s a tree house), a water table, a giant doll house, an airplane with the perfect kid-sized controls, a padded mountain with tunnels and a slide that Samantha loved, and all sorts of puzzles, cards, and building blocks. It made me wish that I could stick the whole place in my pocket and take it home with me, but I guess I’ll just have to settle for another visit.
What’s your favorite museum to visit?