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    Anchorage MuseumAnchorage Museum Anchorage, Alaska
    situated in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, this outstanding museum would begin when the state celebrated their 100th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase, opening in 1968 with a wonderful exhibition, but of borrowed items from the local history society and it would include 60 beautiful paintings and some 2500 ethnographic and historic relics ; and it has grown many times since that humble beginning. It is now known as the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, with a spectacular renovation and enlargement in May of 2010 that cost $106 million.  The museum has grown steadily since opening in 1968 with 60 borrowed paintings and a collection of 2500 historic and ethnographic works to be housed in a 170,000 square foot building with a marvelous collection of 25,000 works and half a million photographs. It has become a world class museum in the heart of the state's biggest city, and is now home to the Alaska office of the Smithsonian NMNH arctic studies center and welcomes more than 180,000 visitors a year. Their permanent exhibits include the Alaska history gallery, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, Alaskan art galleries and the Imaginarium Discovery Center Science galleries, with over 40,000 square feet dedicated to housing this permanent collection.

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    Anchorage Museum of Natural HistoryAnchorage Museum of Natural History Eagle River, Alaska
    The museum of natural history in Eagle River, Alaska has filled a unique need in the state for science education that focuses exclusively on the state's unusual geological, ecological and cultural history, opening in May of 1994, on a mission to study and showcase the natural history objects that pertain to the state's natural history, both promoting and developing the educational programs that definitely enhance the school and university curricula of the state. In 2004, the museum was able to purchase a wonderful 12,000 square foot structure to house and disseminate these outstanding lessons. Their exhibits explore the 100 million year history of the region with new exhibits like the Ice Age Lion skull, Meet the Dinosaurs of Alaska and the Duckbill dinosaur, the black bear and others, the Coastal Oceans diorama, Archaeopteryx skeleton that belonged to a feathered reptile, the magnificent snowy owl diorama and the bird skeleton. Their permanent collections have continued to blossom over the years and now contain Alaskan historical, artistic, anthropological, geological, biological and educational collections that number in the 10,000 range. Some of the vast and exciting collections donated in the past decade include; the John Grega collection that contains African animals, the Margaret Schoonover collection of rocks, relics and minerals, the Jim Prentiss collection with economic minerals from SE Alaska, the Ruth Briggs collection of native relics, ivory carvings and baskets, the Larry Aumiller collection of mammal skulls, the Edward Smoot collection of tropical sea shells and the George Fennimore collection of minerals and rocks. Their permanent exhibits consist of skeletal examples of birds, skulls, man and moose, 4 Alaskan dioramas, and many mounts of Alaskan mammals and birds.

March 29, 2014