Museum of the Aleutians, Unalaska

The first museum in the Aleutians, the mission of this facility is to preserve and share the human history of the Aleutian Island region. It incorporates the history of Aleuts, Russian America settlement, World War II battles, and present day commercial fishing.  The museum has more than 2,700 square feet of exhibit space including permanent, changing, and special collection galleries. Other spaces include a museum gift shop and an archaeology laboratory equipped with a conservation lab and dark room. Visitors can take a behind-the-scenes look into the archaeology lab through a window in the exhibit area.

This 9,276 square foot facility is designed with three forms relating to the three distinct periods from past to present. The museum is built on an existing foundation which dates back to World War II and has a sentry bunker that is incorporated into the museum’s design. This juxtaposition of forms is in reference to the major disruptive events in the Aleut culture, in particular the arrival of the Russians and World War II. The building’s three forms are respectful of current and past local architecture and united by the existing foundation of an earlier building, which suggests the coexistence of different cultures.

American Institute of Architects Alaska Chapter, Honor Award – Excellence in Architecture, 1999