The Museum of the North

Fairbanks, AKUAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK

Thanksgiving weekend is almost over again. This year we had our own little dinner at home with a slightly dry turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, and a plethora of other fatty sides that kept us anchored in our seats until today, when we finally ventured out for a taste of some local culture.

UAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AKUAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AKUAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK

To date, we’ve already tried reindeer sausage at a local diner, cruised around the ski lodge, walked downtown before the snow pack arrived, roamed the hills in search of a view of the Alaska Mountain Range, and sampled beer at the local brewery. It was time for us to see some art and natural history at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North.

UAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AKUAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AKMuseum of the North - Fairbanks, AK

During the last few hours of daylight Saturday, we paced the art and artifact filled corridors of the Museum, occasionally letting Margot reach out to touch pelts and beadwork when allowed. Her eyes traced the large forms of the reproduced creatures of the pleistocene era and she remained largely unaffected in her dad’s arms when they stood before an eight foot, 1250 lb taxidermied Grizzly Bear.

UAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK

Margot refused to remain silent in The Place Where You Go to Listen, a designated room that plays the chorus of Earth’s seismic activity in real time– an audio visual experience you truly have to experience in person to fathom. I can only describe it as sounding a lot like God leaning on a pipe organ and sitting too closely to a theremin at the same time — except we also had a squeaky baby contributing to the experience as she tried to wiggle to the floor to explore in her own way. It was an electric experience that resonated long after we left the space.

The familiar stuffed Bison of the Museum of the North left me feeling nostalgic for the museum I visited most, The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma. But when I saw paintings of the American Lion, and learned about the Japanese Occupation of Alaska in the early 1940s, I was left  in a curious state — there’s a lot I learned about the people, flora and fauna of the Prairie when I lived there, now there’s much to learn about the vast regions and many cultures of Alaska during our time here.

UAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK

UAF - Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK

With temperatures plunging this week, and the daylight quickly disappearing, I’ll probably be keeping warm in the reading room next to the Christmas Tree, reading up on local hikes, or native Alaskan cuisine — at least until we get past the winter solstice.

Museum of the North - Fairbanks, AK


9 thoughts on “The Museum of the North

  1. BRRRRRR ! You are very brave ! Margot looks adorable in her tiny jeans ! And her Daddy looks pretty cute too !


  2. So happy to see you all are adjusting to the extreme weather and still getting out and about! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    1. I remember the days feeling really short in Washington, too. I can’t remember what a winter with adequate sunlight feels like anymore!

    1. I’m really into taxidermied things, too. I’d love to get my hands on a deer head like you have, or at least a set of antlers.

  3. Hi Crystle – I came to your blog through Intsagram! The next time you visit the museum you’ll have to let Margot explore the Children’s Museum in the auditorium…I have a feeling she’ll love it. 🙂 (Plus, admission is only $5…we’re hitting it once a week!)

    1. Thanks for the heads up, Sarah! We didn’t have time to see it while we were there, and I have a feeling it would be a good respite from this cabin fever.

      PS – I love all the lifestyle photos on your business website!

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