Two stops we made this trip to Anchorage were the AK Aviation Museum and the AK Native Heritage Museum. In Alaska, the sky is a major avenue for travel even within the state as a very small percentage of it is developed…passable paved roadways are at a premium. Residents of Alaska fly like the rest of us drive!!! Most people have their own little private planes actually sitting in their yards! So, the history of air travel here and its function personally and commercially is quite important. The museum provided a wonderful visual of the old and the current aircraft and the impressive role of Alaskan air travel over the years. Carl, of course, was in heaven since he is a pilot and has actually flown several models of the planes we saw at the museum!!! He was like a kid in a candy shop! It was great!
The museum was situated on Lake Hood so we were able to see quite a few float planes take off and land. I loved the pontoons.
|This woman is a famous
pilot known for her amazing
skills at aerobatic maneuvers
|Specialty planes…Hi, Mickey!|
|Carl, in heaven! Being a pilot himself,
he loves flying and has actually flown
and owned a couple models that were
in the museum!
|The video viewing seats…very cool|
|I’m NOT a pilot…lol
|Just hanging out|
Our second stop was at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. We arrived just in time to see a beautiful dance. It was wonderful seeing the young adults and teens expressing the love for their heritage in that way. It reminded me of when I lived in NM. There was always some event taking place honoring the culture there. It was one of my favorite things about being there.
|The master drummer and his little
son…hiding in the back…lol
Our walking tour took us to several authentic life-sized Native dwellings. Within each was a host to welcome us and answer any questions. The whole area was lovely…the homes were surrounded by large beautiful trees and Lake Tiulana sat proudly in the center of it all.
|A canoe completely hand made|
|Check out the eagle art!!!|
|An apparatus for catching fish…it scoops
up the fish, the fish falls through the
shoot and the men grab them out and…
|Oh my…seal skins|
|Me taking a break…caught me!!!|
|The interior of one of the
Upon returning from our visit, Sherry, our host and the Executive Director of MATI, shared some really neat information about the center. Her family has a vested interest in its mission to provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience Alaska’s diverse cultures and their contribution to Alaska. It is also hoped that visitors will recognize and appreciate the traditions and values still alive today even in an ever-changing world. The center also serves the Natives by promoting self-esteem and pride. The year after the center opened, in 2000, Sherry’s husband, Lonnie, became vice president then moved into the position of CEO. So, it is no wonder that this center holds a special place in their hearts. A well-known master carver named Nathan Jackson from Ketchikan, created the totem pole outside the main lodge building. He carved the top piece in Lonnie’s likeness in appreciation of his leadership and community spirit. Lonnie, a Tlinket, was honored and humbled by this gesture, but requested that modifications be made to minimize the likeness. Lonnie believed that with 200 staff on board, he was certainly not the only one who deserved recognition for the dedicated efforts it took to make the center as meaningful as it is.
|The totem pole outside
the lodge with Lonnie’s
likeness at the top
|The lodge opening…bend down and back in!|
A final fun note about the lodge….anyone who came to visit had to enter backwards…each clan wore a specific symbol on the back of their robes and if you were deemed an enemy when your symbol was seen, you got clobbered and booted out before you even got in!!!