During our trip to Anchorage last week, we spent an afternoon exploring the Anchorage Museum, a modern, glass and chrome structure in the heart of downtown Anchorage. We had the rare treat of having both of Alex's grandmas along to see what the museum had to offer, along with Alex and myself. It was a wonderful place for kids and adults alike, with a collection of exhibits on history, science, and art. It was like MoMA, the Smithsonian, and the Tech Museum all rolled into one. This is one place I highly recommend for visitors to Anchorage.
The museum opened in 1968, and expanded through the 1990's with an infusion of oil revenues. The current incarnation is a sleek, modern building with an impressive array of technology exhibits geared at science education, a terrific collection of Native Alaskan artifacts, a planetarium, upscale fine dining at the Muse Restaurant, and some interesting traveling exhibits as well. The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center just opened recently, and is something that should be required viewing for anyone interested in Native Alaskan culture.
Alex particularly enjoyed the Imaginarium Discovery Center, a hands-on science exhibit on the first floor that introduces kids to physics, biology, and technology. While mostly geared toward school-age children, there is a special section for kids ranging from infants to age 5. It's often hard to find things in museums for very young children, so I thought this was a terrific way to introduce kids to science at the earliest ages.
We started out looking at a Rube Goldberg-like contraption of balls, chutes, and wheels that was mesmerizing. The walls are adorned with inspirational words and quotes from scientists, like Albert Einstein's quote: "Nothing happens until something moves."