White settlers first came to Alaska 120 years ago in a mad stampede for gold and displaced many of the Native peoples who lived there.
At a National Park Service display in Skagway, we learned about the thousands of people, largely men, who spent a year trying to get to the Klondike gold field only to find the gold gone by the time they got there.
Twenty years later, the early Pioneers to Alaska celebrated their achievements and built community through a chain of Pioneer Clubs, each chapter called an Igloo. We visited Igloo #19 in Cordova.
Throughout the 20th century Alaska teased the imaginations of people who wanted to get away from civilization in the lower 48 and take advantage of the isolation of the new frontier. We found signs as we traveled in Alaska of itinerant seekers who made their way north to Alaska through the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
In the Anchorage Museum, we found splendid new exhibits that tell the history of the state as well new art that shows expresses new visions of Alaskan artists. We end with a piece of mural art in downtown Anchorage.
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