Spend just a few hours at the Museum of the Aleutians and you'll walk away with a broad understanding of this remote island chain, its hardy and inventive Unangan people, and its compelling World War II history.

Fully remodeled in 2013, this gem of a museum is a surprisingly modern find in such a far-flung place. It is small and easy to get through even if your schedule is tight. The permanent exhibit packs in a wealth of information, with interactive displays, videos and dioramas giving context to the artifacts. Gut-skin parkas, baskets, masks and ancient tools reveal the artistry and craftsmanship essential to the early Unangan way of life. Scholars are still learning about the Unangan, whose history on the islands goes back at least 9,000 years. Some of the artifacts you’ll see were unearthed just a few years ago, during construction of the new bridge between Amaknak Island and Unalaska Island.

You’ll also learn about life after Russian fur traders came to Unalaska, the role of the Aleutians during WWII (including Japanese attacks on Kiska, Attu, and Dutch Harbor) and the 3-year internment of Unangan people to sub-standard camps in Southeast Alaska. Visitors often describe this part of the exhibit as “heart-breaking.”

Island life is heavily influenced by fishing, and that holds true to this day. A section on the commercial fishing industry shows why Dutch Harbor is consistently listed as the #1 fishing port in the nation. At the display, you can imagine yourself as a salty deckhand when you try on your own pair of Xtratuf boots and rain gear. Be sure to take photos!

In addition to the permanent display, the museum typically features two new rotating exhibits each year, focused on local artists or aspects of the Aleutian landscape, people or history.

Not to miss: One of the museum’s prized pieces was acquired through fundraising of local residents. “Woman of Ounalashka,” a pencil sketch drawn by Captain Cook crew member John Webber, is on display at the Museum of the Aleutians, just 10 miles from where it was first sketched in 1778.

During your visit, save a little time to browse the Museum Store for souvenirs that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere: Russian icons, stationery and apparel featuring local artwork, and unique book titles related to the Aleutian land, its people and their history.

Getting There

314 Salmon Way
Unalaska, AK

The museum is just two miles from the airport, or a 15-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Take Airport Beach Road south and turn left on Salmon Way. Museum of the Aleutians is open Tuesday-Saturday.

Driving Directions

Prices & Dates

Tuesday - Saturday 12pm - 6pm | $7 adults, $3 under 12, $0 under 3

Museum of the Aleutians

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