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UA Museum exhibit explores change on different scales

Fairbanks, Alaska—A new installation in the University of Alaska Museum of the North introduces visitors to 
the Gallery of Alaska.

The installation, Changing Alaska, emphasizes the importance of museum collections and research to the 
understanding of change on vastly differentscales, from seasonal cycles to those that occur over eons.

“Museums exist to collect, preserve and research objects,”says the museum’s head of production Roger Topp. 
“If a photo is worth a thousand words, an object is worth a million."

For example, the exhibit displays a pair of ptarmigan to illustrate how they adapt to the changing seasons 
and an ancient tree from North Pole, Alaska, to show change over millennia. At the center of the installation
 isa film—projected on a giant globe—that looks at climate change research.

The film gives museum visitors an orbital view of what researchers do when they track change over time and 
model future change, Topp said. “Museums have always been good at letting us look back; they are also poised 
to let us look forward.”

Change is constant. It happens to things as small as a fish hook and as large as continents. Wherever you 
stand, another Alaska is nearby, down the road, over the near hills and waiting in the months to come. In 
perhapsno other place does the change of the seasons rival the change of history.

Support for the exhibit was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the “NASA’s 
Eyes on the Arctic” grant.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Roger Topp, head of production, at 907-474-6985 or via email at rmtopp@alaska.edu.

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