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Lure of Alaska

Main entreance to the exhibit

Colorful advertising brochures and much-enlarged totem poles from vintage Alaskan tourism documents advertising flanked the main entrance to the exhibit.

Curator June Hall, examines artifacts placed in the cases highlighting early steamship ocean liner travel to Alaska.

Another view of the display cases on early ocean liner travel By the 1880s, elegant steamers offered early tourists options for comfortable passage on long voyages.

The tourism market promoted Alaska as a remote, pristine wilderness peopled with exotic cultures through the use of paintings, drawings, photographs, and movies.

Notorious "Soapy" Smith who terrorized Skagway during the Klondike Gold Rush was memorialized as an automaton for a 1930s tourist attraction. He was cleaned up and highlighted once again in a recreated bar scene.

Turn of the century jewelry making machinery and antique wall display cases from Skagway curio stores complete a vignette of items made for the tourism trade.

These beautifully-crafted reproduction cases were made especially for this exhibit and were filled with early handmade Native tourist art of every description.

Rare carved display cases used in the Skagway curio store of P. E. Kern during the gold rush era.

Reproduction display case housing postcards and other small ephemera from Alaska's tourism past

Detail of Alaska postcards that featured every aspect of Last Frontier life. Small ivory pieces were some of the oldest tourist items made.

Part of the recreated curio shop was filled with two of the most popular tourist collectibles - baskets and miniature totem poles.

Another look of curio shop

More recent tourism artifact Cases that contained a 100 year continuum of tourist artifacts and art. In large the paired photographs above was a comparison of curio store contents, also 100 years apart.

Closer look at souvenirs from a more recent period in Alaska's tourism past

Recent souvenirs continued

Recent souvenirs continued

The last gallery highlighted more recent modes of tourist travel.

Brochures and pamphlets highlight different sites and modes of travel in Alaska

Poet, philosopher and folk artist William Yanert hosted steamboat tourists along the Yukon River at his cabin in "Purgatory" through the 1930s.

A cutout panel treated visitors to the exhibit to a photo-op

Tourist air travel in Alaska was limited until after World War II, but heavy promotion opened the skies to ever remote places, including the Arctic.

After the opening of the Alcan Highway to the public in 1948, touring by road in Alaska became a challenge for modern motoring pioneers and created even more tourist memorabilia.

Photos of cruise ships and the steamers they replaced

This case was dominated by a set of magic lantern slides commissioned by the Alaska Railroad when it was finished in 1923. Over the years romanticized railroad brochures were produced to promote tourist travel to the Interior.