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Museums - Tongass Historical Museum Exhibits

Current Exhibits

upholding balance
A temporary exhibit at the Tongass Historical Museum

April 28, 2017 - March 17, 2018

Upholding Balance Poster.jpg


upholding balance

Join Ketchikan Museums for Upholding Balance, an exploration of Modern Northwest Coast Design from 1900 to present. Through works that span across time and reach beyond our current borders, this exhibit celebrates the many connected pathways as Native peoples sought to uphold a balance of tradition and innovation, cultural continuity and a changing identity, vividly reflected in art and At.oow.

At a time of intense pressure from outside influences, the utilitarian art of basket making was the one form that took on the whole of cultural representation. The language, music and art were not allowed, but the artists - predominately women - who wove the baskets embedded the cultural information in their work. Because of this their basketry is at the center of this exhibit.

Exhibiting artists include:
Primrose Adams, Victor Adams, Sophielynda Agoney, Starla Williams Agoney, Charles Gustav Anderson, George J. Beck, Dempsey Bob, Dora Bolton, David A. Boxley, David Robert Boxley (Gyibaawm Laxha- Wolf of the Sky), Zack Boxley (Tguwaalksidm Galipliip - Prince of Thunder), Alison Bremner, Steve Brown, Lillian Buchert, Agnus Buxton, Lydia Charles, Harry Choquette, Delores Churchill, Holly Churchill, Claude Davidson, Reg Davidson, Robert Davidson, Ken Decker, Freda Diesing, Diane Douglas-Willard, Flora Dundas, Nora Edenshaw-Cogo, Julia Fawcett, Matt Fawcett, Fred Forester, Ernestine Glessing, Allie High, Bill Holm, Erik Hudson, Jack Hudson, John Hudson, Mary Baines Hudson, Dorica Jackson, Nathan Paul Jackson, Norman Jackson, Norman Jackson (of Kake), Stephen Jackson, Philip Janze, Chief Johnson, Frank Johnson, Vesta Johnson, Kenneth White, Esther Littlefield, John Marks, Stan Marsden, Marvin Oliver, Casper Mather, Emma Mather, Flora Mather, George Mather, Paul Mather, Kandi McGilton (Mangyepsa Gyipaayg), Da-ka-xeen Mehner, Alfred Milotte, Duane Pasco, Selina Peratrovich, Mabel Pike, Jackson Polys, Wayne Price, Lucy Rainman, Isabelle Rorick, Cheryl Samuel, Linda Schrack, Esther Shea, Israel Shotridge, Ernest Smeltzer, Taats, Kathy Kato Yates, Lisa Telford, Art Thompson, Tommy Joseph, Annette Hudson Topham, Fred Trout, Carrie Anne Vanderhoop, Evelyn Vanderhoop, Tiffany Vanderhoop, April Varnell, Donald Varnell, William White, Emma Williams, Crystal Worl, Rico Worl, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Jones George Yeltatzie, and Lee Youngblood.

Click here for Upholding Balance exhibit photos.


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.


Interested in the Permanent Exhibit planning process?

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


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.


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!


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


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