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Alaska Museums Surveys and Data

Data gathered from museums surveyed around Alaska during 1984, 2000, 2010, and 2020.

The total number of objects in Alaska museum collections surpasses 2 million. The actual total from 40 reporting museums is 2,238,830, with many of these being archeological specimens. The largest collection is at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks (1 million), while 6 museums reported collections of under 500 objects. All museums do not count objects in their collections in the same manner, most commonly with groups of related objects. Some include historical photograph and manuscript collections while others do not.

Number of Objects

Number of objects within museums across Alaska.
Number of Objects Number of Museums
Under 1,000 7
1,000 - 1,999 6
2,000 - 4,999 11
5,000 - 9,999 5
10,000 - 40,000 6
40,000 - 100,000 0
100,000 and above 5

Percent of collection on exhibit (N=37)

Thirty-seven (37) museums provided estimates of the percentage of objects from their collection that were on exhibit. Several of the larger museums had less than 10% of their collection on exhibit.

Museums were asked to rank, by the following groupings, the various types of objects in their collections. Fifty-four (54) museums responded. Following are the number of museums that listed these categories as representing the greatest number of objects in their collection:
Local History 18
Alaska Native 13
Alaska History 10
Archival Materials 9
Natural History 4
Arts and Crafts 0

Collection acquisition funding (N=31)

Nineteen (19) museums had a combined total of $209,288 for acquisitions, ranging from a high of $65,000 to a low of $50. Twelve (12) indicated they had no budget for acquisitions.

Collection databases

Thirty (30) museums have computerized collection databases. Twenty-eight (28) specified software as follows:
PastPerfect 7
MS Access 7
Snap! 4
Accession 2
Argus 2
FileMaker Pro 2
Re:Discovery 2
Excel 1
Oracle 1

Collections Policies & Insurance

Thirty-three (33) museums have collection policies and procedures.

Twenty-eight (28) indicated their collections are insured.

Archival materials

Eighteen (18) museums indicated they managed their archival materials as a collection or as part of their general collection.

The number of museums reporting that they have the following types of archival materials are:
Photographs 46
Documents 43
Audio tapes 33
Video tapes 32
Motion picture film 15