Artifacts and documents detailing Alaska's history—its original inhabitants, natural history, occupation by Russia and eventual purchase and statehood—have a new home in the striking and lofty Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff building in downtown Juneau. Opened in June 2016, the building combines collections from the former Alaska State Museum and the Alaska State Library Archives with modern glass architectural elements and murals, plus an Alaska map inlaid into the stone floor, to create SLAM.
The expansive Alaska Native collections feature art, archaeological finds and common artifacts from all of the region's major cultural groups, including an impressive collection of Eskimo-made baskets. In addition, the coastal state's maritime and gold rush history is interpreted through items such as recovered shipwreck pieces, firearms, whaling harpoons and mining pans. Travelers will find native Alaskan art, as well as natural history collections of gemstones, mounted plants and fossils all on the first floor, while massive floor-to-ceiling windows enclose the library upstairs. The atrium is especially popular, as it houses a life-sized eagle tree replica, complete with a nest, common in some parts of the state.
The Alaska State Library Archives and Museum at 395 Whittier Street is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The Alaska State Library on the second floor allows access Monday through Friday from 10am to 4:30pm. General admission to the museum changes seasonally, with a cost of $12 in summer and $5 in winter. Children under 18 always enter free.