Museums - Tongass Historical Museum Exhibits
Featured in the temporary gallery April 28, 2016 - March 2017
Permanent Exhibit: Opening May 2018
Long before there was a town here, the Tlingit people maintained a fish camp at the mouth of the stream we call Ketchikan Creek. They came every year in late summer to harvest the abundant run of pink salmon.
In 1887, businessmen from Portland, Oregon established the Tongass Packing Company and built a small cannery here. In the middile of its third season, the cannery was destroyed by fire. Michael Martin and George Clark purchased the land and built a salmon saltery where the cannery had been. Eventually, they opened a general store nearby. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ketchikan has been a mining center, fishing port, cannery town, transportation hub, timber town, regional center of government and commerce and tourist destination. It has been called a variety of names, from "The Salmon Capital of the World" to the "Wickedest City in Alaska." Through it all, our town has been friendly, resilient, independent, resourceful and proudly Alaskan.
We look forward to exploring the enduring and inspiring stories of Ketchikan's history and heritage in a new permanent exhibit to debut in May 2018. If you have a story or artifact to share, please contact staff at the Tongass Historical Museum at 907-225-5600.
Ketchikan Museum is working to increase the public's access to our collections. We are working to digitize our vast photography collection as well as provide high-quality photos of other artifacts for public viewing. Check out what's currently available online here!
The Tongass Historical Museum's temporary gallery features new exhibits annually.