Located in the oldest standing building in Alaska, this museum is filled with artifacts, photography, and artwork recording the history of Kodiak. You’ll find exhibits from the time of the Alutiiq and Aleut Natives, to king crabbing and daily life in the 1980s, all the way up to the present. Their focus, though, is Russian-American history and the island’s early American history.
Inspect the design expertise of the Alutiiqs while examining that culture’s 26-foot long baidarka (skinned kayak) and woven baskets. If you’re a photography buff, you’ll love the museum’s archives, which showcase a much different era on Kodiak—a time when people traveled by sea kayak and families set nets for salmon right from the beach.
The building was constructed by the Russians, who used to store sea otter pelts here in the late 1700s. In fact, the sea otter fur trade was what drew Westerners to Alaska, with one pelt worth two years’ salary to a Russian! Known as the Russian American Magazin or the Erskine House, the building was renovated in the late 1960s, and the museum moved in shortly thereafter. Work continues on the building, with a retaining wall replaced in 2011—part of the dedicated effort of the city, community, and the museum to continue this building and history of life on the island.
If you’re in a shopping or gift-giving mood, the museum has one of the best gift shops on the island, which is filled with arts and crafts from contemporary artists.
Summer: Mo-Sa 10am-4pm, Su 12-4pm.
Winter: (closed Feb): Tu-Sa 10am-3pm. Closed Sun-Mo
Adult: $3, Children under 12: Free