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"Kiska and Adak: War in the Aleutians" Brings Home World War II Fight in Alaska


On view April 22 through Dec. 31

Early in World War II, Kiska was a hotly contested battlefield that figured prominently in Japanese and U.S. news. Nearby, Adak supported a large military installation. In the new exhibition "Kiska and Adak: War in the Aleutians," historic artifacts and then-and-now photographs illustrate the United States' struggle to evict war-time intruders from Alaska.

Today, these islands are home to the physical remains of the World War II era. On Kiska, U.S. bomb craters dot the tundra and Japanese gun barrels point skyward, reminders of the air war's ferocity.

Digital art by Dirk H.R. Spennemann presents the Kiska battlefield filtered through an artist's gaze. These photographs were taken during historic preservation fieldwork with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Spennemann used digital darkroom techniques to create grittier images more evocative of the war.

Also on display are objects and photographs from the National Park Service and the museum's World War II and Cold War collections. Objects include American and Japanese military gear and cartoons from the military newspaper The Adakian. There are also examples of trench art, which soldiers created using discarded items such as bullet casings.

This exhibition opens with a free reception at 6 p.m. April 22, followed by a free lecture at 7 p.m. by Dirk H.R. Spennemann. A cultural heritage management professor at Charles Sturt University in Australia, he will discuss the significance of the Kiska occupation during World War II, and the challenges faced by historic preservationists when managing one of America's most significant 20th century battlefields.

The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska, and one of the top 10 most visited attractions in the state. The museum's mission is to share and connect Alaska with the world through art, history and science.

General admission is $10 adult, $8 senior/student/military, free ages 17 and younger. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday. Open until 9 p.m. Fridays during the "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" exhibit. Learn more online at wwwanchoragemuseum.org.
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