Recently the Anchorage Museum opened its shiny new doors to reveal the exquisite “Gold” exhibit, a touring show that is displayed all over the country. It was possible for the museum to bring this show up only because of its recent expansion project it has undergone. The project has made more room for larger shows and provided better security to keep all of the priceless treasures safe.
The new addition to the museum includes a reworked public archives that has worktables and Internet access along with an expanded second floor where an exhibit on Alaska will be on long-term loan from the Smithsonian when it opens. There is also the newly opened third floor that will hold rotating museum shows and a fourth floor that details the construction of this expansion and the plans for it in the future.
“We had our members looking for more from us. We had our scholars and artists wanting more research facilities, and families wanting more things to do on a Saturday afternoon and young people wanting more things to do in the evening. A gift in 1999 of $50 million from Ed Rasmuson allowed us to start raising funds for [this project],” said Sarah Henning, an employee at the Anchorage Museum.
When one enters the newly constructed show room, sparkling gold nuggets are the first objects to catch a patron’s eye. This exhibit is a treasure trove of ancient wonders and modern marvels all made out of that rare element called gold. One portion of the exhibit contains a six-foot by six-foot room completely wallpapered with enough gold to only make a large coin.
“Gold” is the first touring exhibit to come to the new wing of the museum and more like the “Star Wars” exhibit and a touring Andy Warhol show are being arranged to come to Alaska in the future.
Not only is the new museum expansion pretty, it is very interactive. People can touch minerals and rocks housing gold, look at them under microscopes, and make their own fancy paper crowns with gold stickers. There are touch and feel exhibits, demonstrations, and plays for all to enjoy in the new wing.
“I think [the expansion] is wonderful,” said Jan Grimes, an Alaskan who has been coming to the museum for years. “It’s nice to have more space. It’s really going to do great things for Anchorage.”
Only the third and fourth floors have opened on the redesigned museum. Within the next year, a second floor containing an all Alaska exhibit will open and an Imaginarium will come to the first floor of the museum. This new Imaginarium will be an expanded science and learning center with activities for children and adults to participate in, one rumored to be an 80’s music laser light show.
This expansion has already helped broaden Alaska’s scope of the rest of the world and will continue to when the final half of the expansion opens to the public next year in spring. Hopefully patrons will be able to make their way out to the famous “Gold” exhibit while it is here. The additional fee for it is completely worthwhile.