What's New at UAMN


JUNE 2017Mammoth painting - A large painting now on display at the University of Alaska Museum of the North depicts a scene from Alaska during the Pleistocene epoch, around 20,000 years ago. The painter, Fairbanks artist Randall Compton, was already known for his landscapes and bird paintings when he began depicting local scenes from the ice age.

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MAY 2017 Polar bear painting- A new exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North tells the story of an Alaska woman whose love of polar bears and passion for the North led to an extraordinary collection. Polar Passion, now on display in the museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery, contains a select portion of the artwork that Grace Schaible has collected over the past several decades.

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MAY 2017Classroom with desks, smart screens and projection display screen - A University of Alaska faculty team will develop a new scholarship program to support Alaskans who want to become secondary science, technology, engineering and math teachers. A $74,000 National Science Foundation grant will allow the team to build the plan for a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the University of Alaska. The program will provide full scholarships to support Alaska STEM majors as they earn their teaching certificates.

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APRIL 2017Depiction of plesiosaur - A fossil discovered by a Montana hunter seven years ago is a new species in an ancient marine reptile group known as plesiosaurs. In a paper published Thursday, April 13 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, scientists at the University of Alaska Museum of the North and the University of Oxford have named a new species of long-necked plesiosaur known as an elasmosaur.

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A 19th-century painting displayed at the UA Museum of the North in February depicts the 1867 signing of the treaty to purchase Alaska

FEBRUARY 2017 -  A 19th-century painting displayed at the UA Museum of the North in February depicts the 1867 signing of the treaty to purchase Alaska. It will tour the state to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the event. The artist, German-born Emanuel Leutze, also created one of the better-known paintings in American history, a depiction of Gen. George Washington crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution.

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New exhibit explores museum collections

Archaeology field site

JANUARY 2017 - A new exhibit explores the connection between research collections and the museum science they support. “Expedition Alaska: Archaeology and Mammalogy” contains dozens of objects from decades of field work by museum researchers and their students.

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DECEMBER 2016 - We spent the month of December getting the word out about all about the amazing Alaska artists featured in the Museum Store. Our thanks to them for working with us to provide unique gifts and souvenirs to our visitors. And to you for supporting the museum’s research, programs, and exhibits by making purchases in the Museum Store.

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Close up of flora

NOVEMBER 2016 - Learning to identify plants takes some time. An observer must slow down and look for distinguishing features. For one UAF graduate student working in the museum's herbarium, this process requires a shift in perspective.

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First dinosaur bones found in Denali

Researcher holding a fossil

OCTOBER 2016  -  The mystery of the missing dinosaur bones in Denali National Park and Preserve has been solved! The inaugural field season launching a partnership between museum researchers and park geologists has resulted in the discovery of the first bones preserved as fossils. 

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UA Museum exhibits contemporary Alaska art

Large outdoor sculpture

SEPTEMBER 2016 - The traveling exhibit “Living Alaska: A Decade of Collecting Contemporary Art for Alaska Museums,” opens Oct. 1 at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The exhibit presents a retrospective of some of the more than 1,000 pieces of Alaska art purchased through the Rasmuson Foundation’s Art Acquisition Fund, which began in 2003.

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The hunt for ancient marine reptiles

Eric Metz

AUGUST 2016 - A UAF graduate student who works in the museum's earth sciences collection has crowdfunded enough money to revisit a fossil site first discovered over a century ago. Eric Metz is interested in the extinct animals that once filled the oceans during the Age of Dinosaurs,

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Observations seed scientific discovery

Researcher holding bones, skull with antlers

JULY 2016 - Museum curators led a variety of citizen science programs over the summer. Their goal is to engage citizens in identifying the world around them. And they are using online databases to connect these observations with researchers all over the world.

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Dinosaurs in the museum lobby

Dinosaur skeletons

JUNE 2016 - Meet some of Alaska's newsest (and oldest) neighbors. The lobby at the University of Alaska Museum of the North now features the skeletons of a newly discovered species of duck-billed dinosaur called Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis. They roamed the North Slope in herds 69 million years ago, living in darkness for months at a time.

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Films connect Alaska's wild plants to traditional uses

Person picking berries

MAY 2016 -   A new series of ethnobotany films produced by filmmaker Sarah Betcher explores traditional Alaskan indigenous uses of wild plants for food, medicine and construction materials. T he “ Ties to Alaska’s Wild Plants ” project was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Betcher and principal investigator Steffi Ickert-Bond, the museum's Herbarium curator. The videos have been published online in a variety of locations and are accessible for free.

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The fish that fell from the sky


APRIL 2016 - Fairbanksans were surprised last summer by a rain of lampreys falling from the sky. It wasn’t just that fish were dropping onto parking lots and lawns in front of houses. The sight of the lampreys caused a stir because many people had never seen anything like them before. The specimens were donated to the UA Museum of the North, where Curator Andres Lopez was already involved with several projects involving lampreys. 

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New museum ethnographic film debuts

an indigenous Maasai family

MARCH 2016 - Curator Leonard Kamerling said he was drawn to this story about an indigenous Maasai family because it strongly resonated with his experiences making films with Alaska Native communities. Kamerling said the film is not about place, but rather the emotional landscape of people’s lives and how an indigenous family comes together to navigate a rapidly changing world.

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Trail of DNA uncovers Alaska wildlife

Wood frogs

FEBRUARY 2016 - The farther north wood frogs get, the more limited the season to do everything they need to be a frog — breeding, developing and then preparing for winter. Wood frogs, like all amphibians, are considered an indicator species, the first to change habits and habitat due to climate change or environmental hazards. To monitor their numbers, first you need to know where they are.  One clue is in the DNA they leave behind.

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Museum displays enigmatic object

Seal Stone

JANUARY 2016 - Every object has a story. Ever since the Seal Stone was brought to the attention of professionals at the UA Museum of the North, it has been examined by many different disciplines. Now it is on display in the Gallery of Alaska where visitors can learn about the object from a variety of perspectives.

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Alaska butterfly field guide released

Cover of butterfly guide

DECEMBER 2015 - An Alaska butterfly guide, the result of almost 50 years of research by a longtime University of Alaska Museum of the North collaborator and collector of Arctic butterflies, has finally been published. Kenelm Philip was a world-renowned lepidopterist and collector of Alaska butterflies and moths. He passed away in March 2014.

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New hadrosaur species discovered on Alaska's North Slope


SEPTEMBER 2015 - Researchers working with specimens at the University of Alaska Museum of the North have described a new species of hadrosaur, a type of duck-billed dinosaur that once roamed the North Slope of Alaska in herds, living in darkness for months at a time and probably experiencing snow. Ugrunaaluk (oo-GREW-na-luck) kuukpikensis (KOOK-pik-en-sis) grew up to 30 feet long and was a superb chewer with hundreds of individual teeth well-suited for eating coarse vegetation.

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Museum excavates first elasmosaur specimen in Alaska

elasmosaur dig site

AUGUST 2015 - A recent expedition to the Talkeetna Mountains by the University of Alaska Museum of the North has uncovered a new marine reptile fossil from the Age of Dinosaurs known as an elasmosaur.

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Return of artifacts fulfills century-old promise

Kaktovik artifact

JUNE 2015 - More than 3,000 artifacts collected 100 years ago near the North Slope village of Kaktovik are back in Alaska as a result of a collaborative effort among the community, archaeological researchers, ExxonMobil Corp., and the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

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Alpine small mammals threatened by climate change

alpine small mammal

MARCH 2015 - Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have documented a gradual decline in several alpine small mammals since the last glacial period. In a study published in the journal PLoS ONE this month, they predict that climate change will exacerbate this trend.

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Jenny flies again at Fairbanks Airport

historic plane hanging in the Fairbanks International Airport

NOVEMBER 2013 - An historic plane that flew Fairbanks passengers, mail, and cargo in the 1920s is once again on exhibit at the airport, thanks to the efforts of volunteers and aviation enthusiasts.

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Pacific walrus population trends study

Walrus bones

OCTOBER 2013 - Thousands of specimens housed at the University of Alaska Museum of the North will be used as part of a $1.7 million grant to study long-term and ongoing population trends in the Pacific walrus.

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Dinosaur discovery along the Yukon River

Dinosaur fossils

SEPTEMBER 2013 - UAMN researchers have found a major new site for dinosaur fossils in Alaska. Earth Sciences Curator Pat Druckenmiller says This is the kind of discovery you would have expected in the Lower 48 a hundred years ago.

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