The University of Alaska Museum of the North, home to more than 1.5 million artifacts and specimens, six galleries, and a mummified steppe bison, is taking measures to improve accessibility in preparation for the summer tourist season.

According to Director of Exhibits Roger Topp, visitors will now have additional options to help them experience the exhibits throughout the museum, including hearing aids and open captioning.

This will help visitors enjoy special exhibits like “Shake,” an exhibit focusing on Alaska’s tumultuous history of earthquakes. As part of the exhibit, visitors can learn about Alaska earthquakes in real time, take a look inside the Alaska Earthquake Center’s remote seismometer station and listen to first-hand accounts of earthquake experiences across the state.

The museum will feature new sound installations in all the galleries, including a new introductory video in the Rose Berry Art Gallery upstairs in the museum. This is on top of the already-existing sound installation titled “The Place where you go to Listen,” which features an ever-changing musical ecosystem composed by Pulitzer Prize-winner John Luther Adams, and allows visitors to experience “the rhythms of daylight and darkness, the phases of the moon, the seismic vibrations of the earth, and the dance of the aurora borealis.”

The museum is home to six different galleries: the Alaska gallery taking visitors through a natural and cultural history of the state; the Rose Berry Art Gallery featuring 2,000 years of Alaska art; the Special Exhibits Gallery which will host the “Shake” exhibit; the collections gallery where visitors can take a took at research and artifacts; the family room with couches and fun puzzles and activities for children; and the Natural Wonders Gallery, which features a collection of photos by the late Michio Hoshino portraying Alaska landscapes and wildlife.

In addition to visiting Blue Babe, the 36,000-year-old mummified bison, museum visitors are encouraged to take a selfie with the towering mounted Kodiak grizzly bear at the front of the Gallery of Alaska. Don’t forget to hashtag #OttoBear.

Once visitors have finished wandering through galleries and viewing artifacts, they can relax in the museum’s auditorium to view films including “Dynamic Aurora,” “Extreme Weather” and “Sea Monsters.” Movie tickets are $5 per visitor.

The museum is located on UAF’s beautiful West Ridge and features a coffee shop and café and an expansive lawn with a view over the Tanana Valley.

IF YOU GO

What: University of Alaska Museum of the North

When:  Summer hours June 1-Aug. 31, open daily 9 a.m - 7 p.m. 

Where: 1962 Yukon Drive, UAF campus

Cost:  $14 for ages 15 and up, $8 for ages 5-14, free for UA students with a valid student ID, UA museum members and for active-duty military families stationed in Alaska.

More info:  907-474-7505