State History
Learn about the history of Alaska and find fun and interesting things to do and see all across Alaska. We've also found the best books, guides, websites, and other resources to make your study of Alaska fun and educational.
Things to See & Do in Alaska
Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve
Located along the Canadian border in central Alaska, the preserve protects 115 miles of the 1,800-mile Yukon River and the entire Charley River basin. Numerous rustic cabins and historic sites are reminders of the importance of the Yukon River during the 1898 gold rush. Paleontological and archeological sites here add much to our knowledge of the environment thousands of years ago. Peregrine falcons nest in the high bluffs overlooking the river, while the rolling hills that make up the preserve are home to an abundant array of wildlife. The Charley, a 100-mile long wild river, is considered by many to be the most spectacular river in Alaska.
Anchorage Museum of History & Art
The Anchorage Museum of History and Art at the Rasmuson Center is a cultural center for the community and state. Exhibits showcase the art, culture, and history of Alaska and the circumpolar North. The permanent collection numbers 17,500 objects plus an education collection of roughly 2,000 artifacts, with more than 350,000 historical photographs.
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum offers an extensive collection of historical Alaskan aircraft, a film program with subjects such as the WWII Aleutian Campaign history and pioneer Alaskan air services, and exhibits featuring the evolution of Alaskan aviation from 1913 to the present.
Sitka National Historical Park
Alaska's oldest federally designated park was established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka. All that remains of this last major conflict between Europeans and Alaska Natives is the site of the Tlingit Fort and battlefield, located within this scenic 113 acre park in a temperate rain forest. Southeast Alaska totem poles and a temperate rain forest setting combine to provide spectacular scenery along the park's coastal trail. The trail circles back along Indian River to the visitor center. Another loop trail continues across the Indian River footbridge past the Memorial to the Russian Midshipmen who died in the Battle of Sitka. The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of three surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished Bishop's living quarters and lavish icons in the Chapel of the Annunciation.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is one of the most remote national park areas, located on the Seward Peninsula in northwest Alaska. The Preserve is a remnant of the land bridge that connected Asia with North America more than 13,000 years ago. The majority of this land bridge, once thousands of miles wide, now lies beneath the waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas. The Preserve's western boundary lies 42 miles from the Bering Strait and the fishing boundary between the United States and Russia.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
This park celebrates the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98 through 15 restored buildings within the Skagway Historic District. The park also administers the Chilkoot Trail and a small portion of the White Pass Trail. Included in the park is a portion of the Dyea Townsite at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail.
Alaska State Museum
As the official repository of the state's history, the Alaska State Museum is charged with collecting and interpreting a wealth of ethnographic and historical material. From an Aleut thimble basket to the life-sized eagle tree, the Alaska State Museum offers visitors a chance to "see" all the state within four walls.
Aleutian World War II National Historic Area
The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area encompasses the historic footprint of the U.S. Army base Fort Schwatka. Located on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Island Chain of Alaska, the fort was one of four coastal defense posts built to protect Dutch Harbor (the back door to the United States) during World War II, the fort is also highest coastal battery ever constructed in the United States. In 1996 Congress designated this National Historic Area to interpret, educate, and inspire present and future generations about the history of the Aleut or Unangan people and the Aleutian Islands in the defense of the United States in World War II.
Katmai National Park & Preserve
Katmai is famous for volcanoes, brown bears, fish, and rugged wilderness and is also the site of the Brooks River National Historic Landmark with North America's highest concentration of prehistoric human dwellings (about 900). Katmai National Monument was created to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep, pyroclastic ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano. There are at least fourteen volcanoes in Katmai considered "active", none of which are currently erupting. Brown bear and salmon are very active in Katmai. The number of brown bears has grown to more than 2,000. During the peak of the world's largest sockeye salmon run each July, and during return of the "spawned out" salmon in September, forty to sixty bears congregate in Brooks Camp along the Brooks River and the Naknek Lake and Brooks Lake shorelines. Brown bears along the 480 mile Katmai Coast also enjoy clams, crabs, and an occasional whale carcass. A rich variety of other wildlife is found in the Park as well. There is plenty room for great diversity of wildlife in Katmai which encompasses millions of acres of pristine wilderness, with wild rivers and streams, rugged coastlines, broad green glacial hewn valleys, active glaciers and volcanoes, and Naknek Lake.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a gathering place that celebrates, perpetuates and shares Alaska Native cultures. Features exhibits and performances of Native art and culture.
The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry (MATI)
The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry (MATI) started in 1967 as the Air Progress Museum. It was a small collection of Alaskan transportation artifacts gathered for the centennial celebration of the United States purchasing Alaska from Russia in 1867. The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry today has over 20 acres, encompassing a large gallery, train yard, rows and rows of outdoor artifacts, and an exhibit hall.
Alaska Mint
Tour the northern-most mint in the United States located in downtown Anchorage. The Mint is open to the public for self-guided tours. Watch the minting process in progress along with giant gold nuggets, a 10’ gold scale, authentic assay furnace, and running sluice box.
Inupiat Heritage Center
The Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska was designated an affiliated area of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts to ensure that the contributions of Alaska Natives to the history of whaling is recognized. More than 2000 whaling voyages from New Bedford sailed into arctic waters during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Many Alaska Natives, particularly Inupiat Eskimo people, participated in commercial whaling. In addition to crewing on the ships they hunted for food for the whalers, provided warm fur clothing, and sheltered many crews that were shipwrecked on the Alaska coast. The Inupiat Heritage Center was dedicated in February 1999 and houses exhibits, artifact collections, library, gift shop, and a traditional room where people can demonstrate and teach traditional crafts in Elders-in-Residence and Artists-in Residence programs.
Teaching Tips & Ideas
Knowledge Quest
Knowledge Quest offers historical outline maps and timelines designed for the interactive study of world history and geography.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: History
A look at teaching history across several grades using the classical method of education and a rotation of history every four years.
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Featured Resources

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