Wait, wha-a-a-t? There’s already a military museum in Alaska?



Gov. Bill Walker signed an administrative order on Saturday to create a task force to study the creation of a military museum in Alaska. Must Read Alaska reported on it on Sunday.

But no sooner was the ink dry on the internet, when readers informed us that there is already a military museum, and there has been one for many years. Our bad.

The Alaska Veterans Museum is located at 333 W. 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. The modest storefront museum, run by volunteers and supported by donations, was a project of Veterans of Foreign Wars members who started laying the groundwork for it in 2001 to honor the rich military history in Alaska. It took them years to launch it fully, and they partner with several groups to put on events and displays around town.

Walker didn’t mention or pay tribute to the little museum during the signing of his administrative order to establish the task force that will recommend a large, world-class museum. It’s almost like he didn’t know about it.

[Read: Is this a military ‘me too’ costume for Walker?]



Gov. Bill Walker signs an administrative order to create a task force that will recommend establishment of a military museum.


The Alaska Veterans Museum “is focused on honoring our nation’s veterans and insuring that because of the sacrifices they made to defend America’s freedom, ‘They Shall Not Be Forgotten.’ ”

“There was no place to hear the stories of Servicemen and Servicewomen, or learn of the military’s contributions to the growth of Alaska, or how Alaskans defended the United States.  The idea for Alaska Veterans Museum was born,” according to the group’s web site.

Early founders began gathering historical artifacts; weapons, uniforms, photos, posters, models, dioramas, and oral histories.

The Alaska Veterans Museum will mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Attu on May 17-19.

AVM became a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation in 2002 and started enlisting community support. By 2008, the group had its first public exhibit in the Anchorage Museum: “Castner’s Cutthroats: Forgotten Heroes,” launched with a panel discussion that included the last three living Alaska Scouts, Lt Earl Acuff, Sgt Ed Walker, T5 (Corporal) Billy Buck, and author Jim Rearden.  The group paid tribute to T5 (Corporal) Buck Delkettie who died just before the exhibit was open.

“Oral Histories from these fine men still play at the museum today.  Nineteen months after our debut, our exhibit was finally taken down.  When it was taken down, the Anchorage Museum’s Historian Marilyn Knapp said it was the most popular local exhibit the museum had ever had,” according to the web site.

Other exhibits followed:  The Aleutian Tigers, (11th Fighter Squadron), displayed at the Alaska Aviation Museum, and work done assisting the 11thAir Force Warbirds exhibit and the USS Grunion exhibit, also at the Aviation Museum.

At the Native Heritage Center, the group had an exhibit on the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) and Major Marvin “Muktuk” Marston, with many of his items on loan, entrusted to us by the Anchorage Museum.

“We also had displays on the Aleutian Campaign: A Forgotten War at the Chugiak-Eagle River Library and at the Loussac Library.”

On April 17, 2011, the group opened a museum on 4th Ave. and has welcomed thousands of visitors. Must Read Alaska was unable to reach the museum’s director, Michael Haller, who has a day job with the federal government.

We’ll update this story when it becomes clear how the proposed museum will incorporate, displace, or replace the existing Alaska Veterans Museum, which is run on a shoestring.

Is this a military ‘me too’ costume?



  1. There is also a great museum in Whittier that focuses on Military history in AK. There exhibits are small but very thorough.

  2. My dad, Frank Nyman, was interviewed on tape about his WW2 experiences for the AVM.
    Nothing remarkable but a few good anecdotes.
    My dad was always the one they sent with the dozer to help the black regiments clear out the roads. The blacks liked him. Dad said he had learned to appreciate other races because of the field pickers he had met in his youth which were mostly black and Mexican.
    His other claim to fame was he was the first grunt to figure out that the Army shipping crates made great camps. As soon as the officers saw he had better quarters than them, they took them over.

  3. The Governor is back at it picking the WINNERS & LOSERS that’s not his job! All are Military Vets just plainly deserve recognition & praise..May God bless them and all of America they Stand for to Protect our Country & our Freedoms on the Land, Sea and Sky’s!!!

  4. Alaska Veterans Museum began in Eagle River in 1he early 90s as a Memorial suggested by Forest and Cathy Brooks, who had started similar facilities in Washington State. It really took off in 2000 when Col. Suellen Wright Novak (USASF Ret.) became president and established it in its Anchorage location. She moved from Alaska last year. Maj. Michael Haller (USAF Ret.) is current president. Their work has been valuable in recognizing Alaska’s military importance and its prominence in the history of our state ever since Oct. 27, 1867, when Gen. Jefferson Davis assumed the transfer of Russian America from the Czar. If the Governor would like to expand on that work and provide more space and money, that would be great–so long as veterans remain in control.

  5. Alaska Military History Museum? Why is that different then Alaska Veterans Museum that we already have? I don’t understand and would like to know who is behind this.
    I was at the dedication of the Alaska Veterans Museum on 4th ave, What a great place to see and read about our military and civil history especially WWII.
    I see a conflict brewing here and I don’t like it.

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