Fairbanks is known for its wide variety of museums, but the University of Alaska Museum of the North is at the top of the list.
The most noticeable building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, the museum is home to more than 2.5 million artifacts and specimens, six galleries, a mummified steppe bison and a Kodiak grizzly bear nearly 9-feet tall.
Based on recommendations from the University of Alaska and state and federal agencies, the Museum of the North is closed through June 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An official opening has not been set. Hours and stipulations are to be announced.
When the museum does reopen, visitors can see six different gallery areas.
The Alaska Gallery takes visitors through a natural and cultural history of the state that features mammals, the aurora, gold, Alaska Native culture and some World War II history. The Rose Berry Art Gallery features more than 2,000 years of Alaska art.
There is the collections gallery where visitors can take a look at research and artifacts and the Natural Wonders Gallery, which features a collection of photos by the late Michio Hoshino portraying Alaska landscapes and animals.
The Special Exhibits Gallery features “Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline.” Take a walking tour of the museum and Alaska’s fossil coastline and discover the natural history collections alongside art by Ray Troll and Gary Staab.
“Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline” is based on the eponymous book by Troll and paleontologist Kirk Johnson and is organized by the Anchorage Museum with support from Lynden Inc.
Finally, there’s a family room with couches and fun puzzles and activities for children.
Until the museum does open, there are many virtual experiences on the official website, www.uaf.edu/museum. You can also follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The university is located on UAF’s West Ridge and features a gift shop, café and coffee shop and an expansive lawn with great views of the Alaska Range mountains.