I decided to contrast the two museums where the Alaska Aviation Museum and the MacBride Museum in Yukon, Canada. The Alaska Aviation Museum and the MacBride Museum have a considerable amount in common. Though the aviation museum focuses mainly on Aviation, for apparent reasons, Aviation was an incredibly important part of the history of territorial Alaska. Similarly, the MacBride Museum has a significant focus on the history of settling the Yukon territory and the legends surrounding it. The Museum even features a cabin the belongs to Sam McGee, made famous as a corpse by the Robert Service poem The Cremation of Sam McGee. In this way, both museums are themed around the settling of a frozen northern territory.

The Alaska Aviation museum proudly displays its mission statement on its website. “To preserve, display, educate, and honor Alaska aviation heritage.” This statement covers your bases as far as everything a museum should do.  The Museum is an extensive affair housing a number of airplanes, parts of airplanes, and even the Top of a field control tower from Merrill field. The Museum seems like a beautiful place to see some incredible pieces of Alaskan aviation history in person.

The MacBride museum’s mission statement is not as easily accessible as the Aviation museums, but there seem to be three in total once you find them. Their mandate reads: “MacBride Museum illustrates and protects the Yukon’s history.” Their Vision reads: “MacBride is a dynamic museum dedicated to promoting value and Understanding and enjoyment of Yukon History.” Their mission reads: “MacBride Museum will be a community place for Yukoners to share the stories of the Yukon and Whitehorse. MacBride will be a place to illustrate our history and provide opportunities for everyone to learn and create new experiences.” The page also seems to list a series of statements regarding their values, research, and programming.

Both museums offer rentals that can be made into spaces for events. The MacBride museums seem rather plain if a bit more elegant, but the Aviation Museum’s rentals are airplane hangars with airplanes in every corner. Indeed, if you have an event in a hanger with beautiful antique airplanes surrounding you, you will remember that event for years. Both museums have a wide range of collections; however, the MacBride museum seems a bit more varied. These exhibits include an albino moose, the cabin mentioned above of Sam McGee, and a 37-foot tunnel workboat name the Woodchuck.

While looking at the Aviation Museum’s website, I noticed that they list not only their Board of directors and staff, but they also continue to list the Trustees board and the endowment board. I found this to be a nice touch. As opposed to the McBride Museum only lists its directors and staff. Both museums proudly display contact information for various types of individuals. I find that this is incredibly important; if a museum is there to serve its patrons, it is imperative that It be available to them in as many capacities as they can be.

The MacBride museum of Yukon History


The Alaska Aviation Museum

Question: How do you think a Museum should set itself apart from others in its public presentation?

3 Thoughts to “The Alaska Aviation Museum (Anchorage, Alaska) and the MacBride Museum(Yukon, Canada)”

  1. Michael Hubert

    I think that every museum should try to bring their own uniqueness to the museum to attract visitors. it is interesting that you picked the McBride museum , I also did. these that you wrote about at two unique museums and the way that they present the pieces. good read this week

  2. Tony Thompson

    Hi Dylan,
    Great post! I’ve never been *super* into aviation museums (there was one near my hometown in Georgia) but this one sounds really cool! I like the idea of airplanes being in hangars in every corner! And, or course, the albino moose sounds awesome. To answer your question, I really appreciate with museums are specialized in such a way that exhibits a unique point-of-view. That’s why I really appreciate UAMN and some of the other museums of the north that we talked about in this module because I think they represent the north pretty well and tell northern stories in an engaging way. Thanks for your post this module!

  3. Angela Linn

    I’m glad you compared these two museums! It’s been quite a few years (~12) since I have visited the Aviation Museum and I think they’ve worked to come back from some real struggles over the years. I hope as tourists start coming back to Alaska and our economy recovers they’ll be able to realize their mission.
    The MacBride Museum has undergone a major transformation since I last visited. It appears in the news that their expansion and renovation has not had great response in the community of Whitehorse… I always find it interesting to compare what the museum says it does and stands for in a community vs how the community writes about the museum.

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