What the Alaska State Museum does for the history of the state (also reviewed on this website), the Juneau-Douglas City Museum does for the city…and almost as well. This small but richly curated museum has delights and surprises that exceed what you'd expect in a place of its size. I was fascinated by the 9nine-foot-long Tlingit basket-style fish trap that was found protruding from a creek bank near Mendenhall Glacier. Carbon dating shows found that the trap—made offashioned from split hemlock sticks and spruce hoops, all lashed together with split spruce root—was made sometime between 1300 and 1500. It survived the centuries because it was buried suddenly in oxygen-free glacial silt. A timeline beside the fish trap sets the world scene 500 to 700 years ago: Joan of Arc lived and died, Leonardo da Vinci was born and living, playing cards and flush toilets were invented, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was built, and cocoa was all the rage among upper class Aztecs (who usurped it from the Mayans). Stop in as well to buy useful guide maps for seeing the city’s historic buildings, the Evergreen Cemetery, and the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail. In the summer season, the museum offers 1-hour historic walking tours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 1:30pm; tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for those 18 and under (museum admission is included). The tour leaves from the museum and is limited to the first 10 people to arrive—call ahead for reservations.
- Frommer's Staff