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Anchorage Museum to Open Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in May

On May 22, the AnchorageMuseum will open the new SmithsonianArcticStudiesCenter and ImaginariumDiscoveryCenter.

The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center will house more than 600 Alaska Native artifacts on long-term loan from the Smithsonian. Most of these objects have never been displayed before. The center is unique because:

  • This is the first time the Smithsonian has entered into a long-term loan like this.

  • Alaska Native artists, elders and scholars have been involved from the very beginning, helping select artifacts for display and interpreting them.

  • The center is extremely high tech, employing giant, iPod-like touch screens so visitors can find more information.

  • These artifact cases were custom designed, and are unlike any in the United States today. They aren’t sealed, and the mounts are removable, which means Alaska Native artists, elders and scholars working with the Smithsonian can get up-close access to these heritage objects.

The Imaginarium Discovery Center is a hands-on, state-of-the-art science center. The center is unique because:

  • Many of these 80 exhibits focus on Alaska-related science, such as earthquakes, aurora borealis and the unique composition of Cook Inlet clay.

  • For the first time, the AnchorageMuseum has science galleries.

  • The center’s high-tech displays are unlike anything else in the state, including a Magic Planet globe with real-time NASA and NOAA projections; a Smart Floor projection which responds as children walk or crawl on it; and a 3-D sound installation featuring Alaska nature recordings, such as a polar bear groaning.

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