Museum Collections

Color photo of a row of gray shelves holding various museum collection artifacts
One of the park's museum storage facilities.

NPS photo

 

Learn and Explore

The museum collections at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park have many uses. Every branch of the park uses the collections in one form or another. Visitors can see the impact of the museum program all around them, whether they know it or not.

 
color photo of a shallow gray storage drawer holding open topped white boxes lined with white protective padding holding various small artifacts

NPS photo/ T. Urbanski

Helping Preserve History

Sometimes the museum's impact is obvious. Tour through one of our museum spaces and it clear that the museum program was invovled in the displays. But the collection's influence can be subtle as well. Have you ever visited a park and seen a maintenance team working on historic buildings? Before rehabilitation work begins we need information about the buildings. They may need architectural drawings, soil samples, archeological reports, or original paint samples. Where do they go to find this information? The museum program archives.
 

Serving the Public

Sometimes the park receives an information request from a visitor or private researcher. Using the museum cultural collection is one tool the park can use answer these requests. The collection contains original diaries, letters, historical artifacts, newspapers, and photographs. All of these items aid our researches to help the public.

It is not always the museum program that does the helping. Sometimes the museum program turns to the public for help. For example, to gain a better understanding of the historical photographs in the collection, the park has reached out to local citizens. Many photos in the collection lack context or the persons in them are unknown. To help solve some of these mysteries, the photo collection was opened to locals. As folks poured over the images they offered any insight or identifications they may have. Often seeing the historical photos would trigger forgotten memories and stories to come to light.
 
color photo of a beige storage cabinet with three drawers containing open topped boxes lined with white protective padding displaying various zoological specimens, including animal skins and bones
Some of the items stored in the Natural History Collection.

NPS photo/ T. Urbanski

Scientific Applications

The museum program also has a natural history collection. It preserves over six thousand natural specimens. The largest part of the collection is the herbarium.

Park and non-park scientists can use these specimens for research and reference. The samples act as a baseline for scientific research within the park. They document climate fluctuations, air quality, and ecological diversity.

Preserved in the collection are:
  • plants
  • lichens
  • birds
  • fish
  • rodents
  • other mammal skeletons
 
color photo of a shallow gray metal storage drawer holding open topped white boxes lined with white protective padding holding various small artifacts

NPS photo/ T. Urbanski

Protecting the Past for Future Generations

The museum team's mission is to preserve and protect almost 300,000 objects. The cultural collection includes four sub-divisions:
  • Archeology
  • History
  • Archives
  • Ethnology
The natural collection is where you can find plants and animals. This is no small undertaking. Maintaining these items allows people of all disciplines the chance to verify and expand their research.

Want to learn more? Dive deeper into one of these collections:

Last updated: February 21, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
P.O. Box 517

Skagway, AK 99840

Phone:

(907) 983-9200

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