|Rotary snow plow used on the White Pass & Yukon|
Railroad, Klondike Gold Rush National Park
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
Last week Diane Fleeks from the Fairbanks Community Museum and I drove 700 miles to southeast Alaska, passing through parts of the Yukon Territory and British Columbia to reach Skagway. How odd that one sometimes needs a passport to travel from one part of Alaska to another!
My goal in Skagway was to visit the archives at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, primarily to see if I could learn more about Robert Sheldon's homemade automobile and the lady he hoped to impress with it. I left with more questions than when I started, but I also came away with some great photos of early cars in Skagway and several interesting transcripts and manuscripts. Many thanks to Karl Gurcke and Judith Munns for all their help.
|Historic Fort Seward|
The annual AHSMA conference brings together a wonderful mix of museum professions and volunteers from around the state, as well as historians from Alaska and beyond. I was able to attend a workshop on using SketchUp to design exhibit layouts, and several interesting sessions on museum publishing, collections planning, and designing exhibits around a signature artifact.
I only saw a few vintage cars and machines on the trip, including a 1939 Cadillac and the steam-driven contraption at left. But, I made some excellent contacts with other museums, and gained some new documents and photos for our files. The conference was very well organized, and I extend my thanks and appreciation to the host committee, volunteers, and Museums Alaska board and staff.
Skagway and Haines are delightful little towns, although it's a toss-up between which has the most interesting nightlife. We were treated to live performances by the Windy Valley Boys in both towns (a very fun band!), but only Haines had the spectacular Salvation Army fashion show put on by the film crew for the Discovery Channel's "Gold Rush" reality show. It was a sight to behold.
We were treated to some amazing scenery on the 1,400 mile trip, as well as some cool critter sightings. I had to hit the brakes once to avoid hitting a grizzly bear crossing the highway, and we saw more bald eagles than cars on the entire drive. I've lived in Alaska 22 years and never cease to be amazed by her beauty. Come visit if you haven't!
Coming to Fairbanks to see the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum and other area attractions? Support the museum by staying at one of the Fountainhead Hotels. All guests receive half-price admission to the museum!