Even with the highest veteran population (per capita) in the country, Alaska was the last state in the union to have a museum dedicated to honoring veterans and Alaska’s contributions to military history.
It was only through ten years of blood, sweat, and many tears of passionate volunteers that the Alaska Veterans Museum opened its doors on April 17th, 2011.
Still operating as a 100% volunteer organization, their mission is simple; honor Alaska’s veterans’ by recording and sharing their stories; educate visitors about Alaska’s military history through exhibits and displays; and inspire our community to support our Active Duty, Guard and Reserve, and our veterans.
The AVM has an extensive collection of uniforms, accouterments, artifacts, weapons, posters, dioramas, models, movies, and, of course, their oral histories. In addition to providing a rich experience for visitors, the AVM is extremely active in the community.
They played a key role in the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Dutch Harbor event in June of 2017.
The AVM organized the event, arranged for speakers, aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), Alaska Wing, and John Pletcher’s Grumman Goose amphibious aircraft. During the event, they were able to interview several Aleutian Campaign veterans for their ongoing oral history project.
The AVM also actively partners in local events with many organizations like the CAF and the Alaska Territorial Cavalry, to provide exhibits during events like Fur Rondy and Arctic Thunder.
The AVM provides speakers for many veterans events each year; educational programs to schools, Rotaries, Lions, and Senior Centers; and sets up temporary displays at many locations from Anchorage to the Valley.
This small museum is located in the heart of Anchorage and truly delivers on their mission. Veterans are honored, the exhibits and the docents are informative, and you walk out the door feeling inspired.
The next big thing for the AVM is their participation in the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Attu event. It will be held in Anchorage, May 17-19th, 2018. You are invited and encouraged to attend.
On May 19th, the AVM will be opening their Battle of Attu Exhibit at the Alaska Aviation Museum. Mark your calendar. There are various events planned throughout the afternoon, but the warbird rides are sure to receive extra attention. You can look forward to seeing several aircraft, the Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious aircraft, the Harvard Mk IV, and a Valtee BT-13. Get there early to secure your ride!
All-in-all, the AVM is an extraordinary place run by an extraordinary group of dedicated volunteers. The exhibits are well put together – and you cannot beat the door price of $3.00. The museum is located downtown at 4th and D Street – 333 W 4th Avenue. They are currently on winter hours (Wed-Sat 10-5p). Summer hours start Memorial Day (Mon-Sat 10-6p).
The Alaska Veterans Museum looks to the community for both funding and volunteerism to remain strong.
You can make a donation, inquire about volunteering, or become a member at alaskaveterans.org.