The Alaska State Museum at 395 Whittier Street will close in February 2014 and will reopen in the new State Library, Archives and Museum building in April 2016.
Founded in 1900 as the Territorial Historical Library and Museum, the museum and libraries today hold and exhibit a comprehensive and definitive collection of Alaska Native cultural, historical, natural history, and art objects, as well as historical books, records, maps, photographs, and film collections. The new 118,000 square foot facility, located at 395 Whittier St., will feature a gift store, cafeteria, auditorium, classroom, reading room, museum galleries, research room, historical library, and state archives all under one roof.
A short climb up the hill from Juneau's waterfront brings you to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum at Fourth and Main streets. Two totem poles sit in the small landscaped park, where on July 4, 1959, the first Alaska flag was raised, celebrating statehood.
The East Gallery focuses on Juneau's mining history and the life of pioneers in the Gastineau Channel area. A 5-by-7 foot relief map provides an eagle's-eye view of the region. You can also put your feet up and watch the documentary video "Juneau: City Built on Gold," or view digital stories of Juneau as Alaska's state capital on an interactive kiosk.
A short drive or an enjoyable 45-minute stroll (watch for bears, porcupines, and eagles along the way) to the end of Basin Road brings you to the Last Chance Mining Museum.
The hands-on museum is in a building associated with the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mining Co., which operated in Juneau from 1912 until 1944. It features original tools, machines, and infrastructure of what was once the world's largest and most advanced hard-rock gold mine. Displays in the mine's old service center include antiques, minerals, and a three-dimensional glass map of the mine shafts and caves inside the mountain.