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Current Exhibits


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Ketchikan is...
Tongass Historical Museum Permanent Exhibit

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.

2019-20 Special Exhibit  -  OPENS MARCH 1, 2019

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Be part of the upcoming Tongass Historical Museum exhibit!

Help the museum capture a glimpse of how things are made in our community—just film with your cell phone and email us your video!

Email video and completed release form to

(Photo above: Boat builder Carl Holmberg adjusts clamps as he planks a new skiff in his Nadeau Street shop. Ketchikan Photographer Paul Saari caught this view of the noted Ketchikan craftsman in the late 1950s. Saari remembers that Holmberg had begun to build a 16-foot version of his sturdy, transom-sterned skiffs at about the time of the photo. Holmberg boats were suitable for moderate outboard power or "Norwegian Steam"- oars. KM 2003.2.63.1423)


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)