New Exhibits Open at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

On Friday December 2, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park hosted a grand opening event debuting new exhibits at the visitor center and museum. About 65 members of the Skagway, Alaska community explored and gave rave reviews of the new exhibits. The grand opening marks the conclusion of a year­long series of events commemorating the National Park Service Centennial at the park.
After three years and a $900,000 contract with Formations Inc. of Portland, OR, the NPS Visitor Center and Museum now feature interactive and accessible exhibits. Visitors can smell sourdough and eulachon oil, step into a muddy boot print, “raft” down the Yukon River, and spin a game­show style wheel to see if they strike it rich…or die. “It’s been a long process and we’re really proud of the final result,” says education specialist Jason Verhaeghe. “These exhibits tell the story of the gold rush by following five real characters, helping visitors feel like they’re on a journey themselves.”
In addition to being fun and tactile, the new exhibits are now legally accessible. There is ample room for wheelchairs to maneuver and text is low and large enough for kids and seated visitors to read. Selected text is duplicated in braille and there will be an audio description of the exhibit to aid visitors who are visually impaired by summer of 2017. Large, colorful graphics convey the main concepts and emotions of the gold rush even to visitors who don’t read English fluently.