The dream of the famed Chilkat tribe of Tlingit Indians, this working museum honors the great legacy of Northwest Coast art as practiced by a proud and wealthy people. It houses the famed Whale House artifacts while serving as a workshop for contemporary carvers and weavers.
Opened in 2016, this tribally operated center is home to the famed “Whale House” artifacts, totemic carvings considered to be the finest indigenous artworks in Alaska. The 100-year struggle for control of these treasures is worthy of its own story, but the center takes a wider approach, providing not only a museum of artifacts but also a workshop and school for Alaska Native artists today and a storybook for the sophisticated culture that grew up on the banks of the salmon-rich Chilkat River. Chilkat natives not only created great pieces of art, they commissioned other artists throughout Southeast Alaska to adorn their tribal houses. Since its opening, the center has also grown as a showcase of important and historic carvings. It’s located in Klukwan, the “mother village” of the Tlingit Nation, 22 miles west of Haines on the Haines Highway. To grasp the breadth of the historic Chilkat Empire, check out the aerial-view map showing traditional villages and fish camps in the area.