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Museums - Tongass Historical Museum Exhibits


Current Exhibits

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Ketchikan is...
The New Tongass Historical Museum Permanent Exhibit

Opening April 27, 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.

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Interested in the Permanent Exhibit planning process?

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Click here for a full description of the upcoming Permanent Exhibit.

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We look forward to exploring the enduring and inspiring stories of Ketchikan's history and heritage in a new permanent exhibit to debut April 27, 2018.  If you have a story or artifact to share, please contact staff at the Tongass Historical Museum at 907-225-5600.

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Collected Memory: the Michael Nore Archive
Photographs of Early Ketchikan

Opening April 27, 2018

Opening in the Focus Gallery will be a series of photographs collected by Wrangell-born Michael Nore. A natural collector, Nore has dedicated his life to gathering bits of Alaska’s history and over the years, he has been able to create a photographic record of many towns across Alaska, notably Ketchikan.
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This exhibition from his archives will contain a curated series of snapshots that will offer a glimpse into early moments of Ketchikan’s history. These individual’s memories pulled from personal scrapbooks, photo albums, and postcards create a pure window to life during Ketchikan’s early years. Through the lens of residents, visitors, and those firsthand accounts we see how they remembered and preserved this place, our home.

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Virtual Exhibits
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!

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Upcoming Exhibits
The Tongass Historical Museum's temporary gallery features new exhibits annually.

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Past Exhibits
View Past Exhibits here. (Currently under construction)