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Museums - Tongass Historical Museum Exhibits


Current Exhibits

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Ketchikan is.jpg

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Tongass Historical Museum Permanent Exhibit
Ketchikan is...

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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2020-21 Special Exhibit  

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Into the Wind: Aviation as Southeast Alaska's Lifeline
March 6, 2020 - January 23, 2021

Aviation is our way of life; it touches every aspect of island living. Airplanes deliver mail and air freight, provide emergency medevac transport, take passengers for work and play, sports teams to games, as well as bring food, supplies, and even Santa to remote communities.

To take a deeper look into this important industry, the Tongass Historical Museum is featuring Into the Wind: Aviation as Southeast Alaska’s Lifeline, an exhibit weaving together science, history, art, and contemporary issues to explore the role of aviation in our past, present, and future. 

Into the Wind explores the dedicated people that keep planes running smoothly, and the communities and industries that depend upon them. Pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, dockhands, medics, flight service and others share their unique perspectives on what makes flying in Southeast Alaska different from flying anywhere else. 

Illustrated through photography and local art, family scrapbooks and films, from pilots’ flight logs and mechanics’ tools to float pumps and receiver headsets, join us as we consider how aviation developed in our community and how it remains a vital part of life in southeast Alaska. 

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Into the Wind  Upcoming Programs and Events:

Preschool story time about aviation
    Thursday, March 5, 10:30 AM at the Ketchikan Public Library

Baby/toddler story time about aviation
    Friday, March 6, 10:30 AM at the Ketchikan Public Library

“The Science of Flight” STEAM program
    Friday, March 6, 3:30 PM at the Ketchikan Public Library

Into the Wind Opening Reception
(catered by Kayhi Culinary Arts)
    Friday, March 6, 5 - 7:00 PM at the Tongass Historical Museum

Aviation panel discussion & showing of "The Bush Pilots" film
    Saturday, March 7, 2:30 PM at the Ketchikan Public Library

Museum Midday w/ AJ Slagle Jr. “Ketchikan’s Air Taxi History”
    Thursday, March 12, 12 - 1:00 PM at the Tongass Historical Museum

Museum Midday w/ Gary Frietag “Science Supported by Aviation”
    Thursday, March 19, 12 - 1:00 PM at the Tongass Historical Museum

Museum Midday w/ Chuck Slagle “Aviation in Ketchikan”
    Thursday, March 26, 12 - 1:00 PM at the Tongass Historical Museum

Into the Wind Family Fun Day!
    Saturday, March 28, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM at the Tongass Historical Museum

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