Renovations approved for Ketchikan museum

KETCHIKAN — The Ketchikan City Council has approved the renovation of the main floor of the Tongass Historical Museum. The $1,256,950 cost, a combination of Public Works Sales Tax funds and Commercial Vessel funds, will provide the town and visitors with accessible restrooms and an updated facility and will also open a new era for Ketchikan Museums.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Totem Heritage Center in 2016 and the Tongass Historical Museum’s 50th in 2017, Ketchikan Museums are honoring the town’s past as a vision develops for exhibits that capture what Ketchikan is to past, current and future generations.

Renovations begin at the Centennial Building on Oct. 1. As Dawson Construction crews demolish and rebuild the main floor over the winter, museum staff members are crafting a new permanent exhibit that tells Ketchikan’s authentic story, “one that reflects all we have come from, showcases the richness of our home and provides a platform to record our future,” according to a press release.

While the Tongass Historical Museum will reopen its doors in early summer 2017 to share a temporary exhibit and restrooms with visitors, the big reveal of the completed permanent exhibit will take place in 2018.

Important dates: The Tongass Historical Museum’s tentative closing date in Sept. 6. Collections staff and administrative secretary will be available via the lower level entrance by appointment only. Regular hours will continue for the Totem Heritage Center. On Sept. 15, the Totem Heritage Center will celebrate its 40th anniversary and highlight 40 years of the Native Arts Studies Program.

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