Western & Arctic Coast Gallery
The most prominent feature of the Western and Arctic coast is the broad, flat coastal plain. Nine species of marine mammals, including polar bears, seals, walrus, and bowhead whales, inhabit this coastal sea-ice environment. Seals were probably the most useful animals in providing many of the day-to-day needs of the coastal Eskimos.
The Eskimos have created spectacular ivory carvings since 500 B.C. Prehistoric artworks often had engraved decorative lines and drilled pits inlayed with jet, baleen, or wood.
Video clips produced by the Alaska Native Heritage Film Center enhance understanding of the exhibit themes by showing whale hunting, dancing and storytelling.
In 1971, marine scientists discovered the Boulder Patch, commonly referred to as the "Arctic's underwater garden." The Museum's one-third scale diorama shows these diverse animals and explains why the growing season for the plant community occurs in the dead of winter.
The Dinosaurs of Alaska exhibit emphasizes the Museum's pioneering techniques used to collect plants and animals that lived on Alaska's North Slope during the Cretaceous era, 65 million years ago. This Museum now has the largest collection of high-latitude dinosaurs and related vertebrates in the world, including many early mammal and reptilian species.