Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Juneau year-round? That’s just one of the things you’ll learn at this intriguing museum that sits on the site where Alaska officially became a state.
Discover Juneau’s Cultural Heritage & Community History
This intimate gem of a museum is itself an historical treasure: it was the site of the Statehood Ceremony on July 4th, 1959, where the 49-star flag was first flown in Alaska and still flies today. Since 1976, the City Museum has been a showcase for local history. The Museum’s current location in the Veteran’s Memorial Building—which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2006—is an important stop for understanding Juneau’s cultural heritage and community history.
Plan to spend at least an hour here, though you may well find yourself spending 2-3 hours. Look around at the exhibits, watch an award-winning documentary about the city, and consult the local volunteers who are longtime city residents and act as docents.
Plus, the City Museum doesn’t end at the building’s walls. From May to September, you can also take 90-minute walking tours of historic downtown Juneau; led by volunteers passionate about the community, the tours end with tea and cookies at the historic Capital Inn. There are also free walking tours of the Alaska State Capitol from Monday to Friday during the summer, as well as monthly thematic walking tours, focused on subjects like geology, mining history, and true crime.
Fall & Winter Programs
In the fall and winter, the City Museum is program oriented, bringing in local experts or local artists to present on a variety of topics. This helps foster a sense of place and lets you really experience the local culture. For a special treat, come for the annual 12 X 12 community art show in March, in which local artists of all ages participate.
Permanent exhibits include the General History Gallery, where you’ll find Juneau’s timeline, along with information about how early pioneers and imigrants shaped the community. Explore the city’s fishing history, which includes a centuries-old Alaska Native fish trap, as well as exhibits on commercial fishing and canning. Delve into Tlingit culture and history and learn how local tribes carve and build canoes. Enjoy the interactive mining gallery with a stamp mill that’s great for kids (they can dress up!). Watch the award-winning, 26-minute documentary, “Juneau, City Built on Gold,” and check out the large relief map from 1967 that shows how the Mendenhall Glacier has dramatically transformed.
Rotating Exhibits include solo artists in the winter, a community exhibit in the spring, and a summer exhibit that goes deeper into the area’s history. Check out the traditional plants in the summer, along with two totem poles and the 49th star flag.
And don’t miss the Museum Store, which showcases handmade items by local artists—unique memorabilia you may not be able to find elsewhere. Alaska State Capitol souveniers, pins, and Capitol ornaments, along with jewelry, cards, artwork, books, bags, games, and much more!