The Juneau-Douglas City Museum fosters among its diverse audiences an awareness of Juneau’s cultural heritage, values and community memory so we may draw strength and perspective from the past, inspire learning, and find purpose for the future. As a public trust, we collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit those materials that document the cultures and history of the Juneau and Douglas area.
General History Gallery: Businesses
If you remember back in the fall of 2015, the General Store exhibit was taken down after 20+ years on view. With its many objects, we know it was a favorite exhibit of locals, visitors, and staff, so we only took it down knowing we were going to re-envision it to highlight Juneau businesses. The new Businesses exhibit has over 175 objects in the new case, plus signs on the walls above, and a small wall-case of matchbooks. All of these items represent Juneau local businesses and industries, past or present, including dairies, airlines, stores, police & fire, Alaskan Native market art, banks, and more. Historical information is paired with the invitation to play a few rounds of I-Spy to see if you can find all the objects relating to a specific type of business.
General History Gallery: Fishing
In the fall of 2016, our angling artifacts exhibit was taken down. We did so with the knowledge that we would be creating a new fishing exhibit- and we did! The new exhibit has combined the already existing Montana Creek Fish Trap exhibit with history about Tlingit fishing methods, recreational fishing in Juneau, and the commercial fishing industry. A new case displays fishing artifacts, including a halibut hook, cannery labels, and Salmon Derby buttons. The exhibit also has new life-sized "fish fact" fish panels for halibut, herring, eulachon and the five species of salmon. Be sure to take a photo holding your favorite fish and share it with us on the Friends of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum's Facebook page:
General History Gallery: Juneau Timeline
In the Museum's general history gallery you will find exhibits relating to Juneau's cultural, economic, and social history. Highlighting key events in Juneau's history to statehood, this detailed timeline includes artifacts and images to highlight some of Juneau's vibrant history and stereo-viewers for old time fun.
General History Gallery: Juneau's Changing Shoreline
Downtown Juneau lies within the territory of the Aak'w Kwáan (small lake clan) and T'aaku Kwáan (geese flood clan) Tlingit. Both had summer fishing camps in the downtown area; The Aak'w at the mouth of Gold Creek called called Dzantik’i Héeni (Flounder Creek) and the T'aaku on the beach south of town at the base of Mount Roberts. In 1880 Joseph Juneau and Richard Harris were led to the area and gold deposits by the Aak'w Kwáan member, Kawa.ee. Juneau and Harris set up camp at the corner of what is now Front and Franklin Street. A permanent town formed with the arrival of additional prospectors and the non-seasonal settlement of natives. By 1890, Juneau was Alaska’s largest city with 1,253 residents and usable land became increasingly essential. Learn about how the land of Juneau has changed through our history. This exhibit was possible through a 2015 Grant-In-Aid award from the Alaska State Museum.
General History Gallery: Montana Creek Fish Trap & Replica
This 500-700 year old Native fish trap is the first basketry-style fish trap to be discovered in an archaeological context on the Northwest Coast. Suspended above the original fish trap is a full scale replica built in 2006 with the support from Sealaska Corporation, a grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum and a Grant-In-Aid from the Alaska State Museum. This exhibit project was awarded The American Association of State and Local History 2008 Merit and WOW award. The exhibit also features a hands-on fish trap model, footage from the 1991 excavation of the fish trap, courtesy of Greg Chaney, and a take-home Montana Creek Fish Trap brochure.
General History Gallery: Northwest Coast Woodwork and the Tlingit People
Celebrate expert woodworking and weaving in this part of the general history gallery. View our trail marker, carved eagle and raven panels, c1880s spruce double-ended canoe, canoe paddle interactive, and Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving. Learn about the complex family and clan relationships of the Tlingit people and the local Aak'w Kwáan and T'aaku Kwáan (clans). View an amazing painting by Rie Munoz of Haines Tlingit dancers in regalia.
General History Gallery: Outdoor Recreation: Skiing & the Dan Moller Cabin
A Charter member of the Juneau Ski Club, Dan Moller came to Juneau 1934 as the general Emergency Conservation Work foreman for the US Forest Service. He was in charge of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work crews that constructed the trail to Second Meadow, the site of the 1st ski area in Juneau and the original cabin that later bore his name. The cabin was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps, for its role in development of the growth of recreation and skiing, and its long association with the Juneau Ski Club. Following the USFS's assessment of the cabin, they approached the City Museum to help interpret this important part of Juneau history since the cabin could not be saved.
Hands-On Mining Gallery: Assay Lab and Hard Rock Mining Exhibits
The Assay Lab exhibit has been in the General History Gallery since 2010 and the Hard Rock Mining Exhibit was there 2008-2015. As part of this update, we wanted to realign the galleries and put all the mining exhibits in one place in order to give visitors a better understanding of mining life in Juneau. With the addition of two new, modern, museum-quality cases, those exhibits are now both in the Hands-On Mining Gallery. Other smaller additions and changes include: a digital frame of miner photos, two life-sized miners to greet you at the entrance, and the stamp mill replica in a new location.
Hands-On Mining Gallery: Drilling & Milling
Brass-in, put on your hard hat and come explore Juneau's early mining history and mining practices in our interactive Museum environment. The room includes a miniature interactive stamp mill; a model of Treadwell with sliding panels depicting the infamous 1917 cave-in; a hydropower interactive and a mineral identification interative. Our miniature stamp mill was produced courtesy of Greenscreek Mining Company.
Hands-On Mining Gallery: Juneau's History of Hydropower
Juneau's combination of precipitation and lots of elevation makes Juneau an ideal location for hydro (water) power. Hydropower harnesses the force or energy of moving water and converts this kinetic (moving) energy into mechanical (machine) energy. Built in 1914, the Salmon Creek Dam was the first constant angle arch design dam in the world. This unique design reduced construction costs by 20%, because it required 25% less concrete to build. Visit the museum to generate power, Juneau style. Our hydropower interactive located in the Hands-On Mining room was produced courtesy of Alaska Electrical Light & Power Company, known as AEL&P.
Hands-On Mining Gallery: Rocks and Minerals
The interactive rocks and minerals exhibit in our Hands-On Mining Room includes ten rotating blocks, each with a rock sample and loads of information. Three hands-on books accompany the exhibit to offer more information on the geology of or area, Juneau mining history, and Tlingit use of rocks. The Museum worked with local geologists Cathy Conner and Mike Blackwell to choose ten types of rocks, minerals and metals found in our area and research their geological characteristics. Mike Satre from HELCA Greens Creek Mine and Jan Trigg from the Kensington Mine provided ore samples, information, and photographs of current mining industry operations. Goldbelt Heritage Institute helped us identify Tlingit uses of rocks and Tlingit spelling. This exhibit was made possible by a 2016 Grant-In-Aid Award from the Alaska State Museum.
Hands-On Mining Gallery: The Treadwell Cave-In
This exhibit is an interactive cross-section of the Treadwell Mine cave-in of 1917. The exhibit model is based on a drawing by Livingstone Wernecke, the mining engineer in charge of investigating the condition of the mining operations and was present at the time of the 1917 collapse that closed the mining operation. The interactive includes two windows with 4 sliding panels each. Each of the sliding panels uses historic events historic photos, sketches, text, and first person quotes and narrative to illustrate the collapse and flooding above and below ground. This exhibit was funded by a 2011 Grant-In-Aid Award from the Alaska State Museum.
In Our Video Room: Juneau, City Built on Gold
Created by museum staff, volunteers and community members several years ago, this 26-minute documentary stands the test of time and plays in our video room year-round, highlighting local history, culture, and heritage. It begins with an introduction to Native Alaskan (Tlingit) life in the Juneau area and follows the city's development and history through the gold rush days and the fight for Alaska's statehood. This gallery also features temporary exhibits throughout the year.
Map Case Gallery
Between 1967 and 1971, while a high school student, Loren Adkins, Jr. created a 48 inch by 66 inch by approximately 13 inch relief map of Juneau, covering 200 square miles from downtown Juneau and Douglas Island to Auke Bay, as it appeared in 1967. This map is detailed and accurate to a scale of 4 inches to the mile. A favorite exhibit among locals and visitors alike, it oriented guests to where they are in our town, shows how the city has grown and the the Mendenhall Glacier has receded in the past 50 years. Ask one of our friendly front desk volunteers to take you on a tour around Juneau using this extraordinary map. This gallery also features temporary exhibits throughout the year.
Politics, Personalities & Power Gallery
View digital stories about the Quest for Statehood and Alaska's Capital on either of these interactive kiosks located in our Politics, Personalities and Power gallery.
As the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, it seems only fitting to have an exhibit dedicated to Juneau as Alaska's Capital City. The exhibit features a detailed timeline of events that shaped our capital, artifacts from capital move campaigns and interactive touch-screens that feature a number of historical and cultural topics including: The Quest for Statehood, Elizabeth Peratrovich and Civil Rights, Alaska's Government and Cultures of Juneau.
The Museum's digital stories project received the Leadership in History Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History in September 2011.