Monday, August 10, 2015

Valdez museums

On our last day in Valdez, we visited three museums, including exhibits about the native peoples, the early exploration of Alaska by Russian and American trappers and prospectors, a very interesting exhibit about the Alaskan bush pilots from the early days, and a separate museum about the 1964 earthquake.

Walking from the RV park to the museums, we just love the banners along the streets of Valdez
 And these folks seem taken with the idea of naming something "No Name," like the No Name Creek I had in the previous post--here it's a pizza place!

 And, of course, always the beautiful flowers!
 For some reason, Valdez has quite a population of wild bunnies--the RV park was full of them, and these two shots were taken right along the main drag in town

 Love these old restored fire engines!

 Don't know if you can get the second shot enlarged enough to read and keep it in focus, but this was hilarious--this "North Pacific Fur Fish" was on display in the museum as if it were a legitimate exhibit, but if you can read through the accompanying description in the second shot you can see it's an obvious spoof!

 This hard metal, uncushioned, uninsulated seat was from one of the bush planes so often used in the early days--can you imagine sitting in this hard metal seat when it was -40 degrees and you had a rough landing?
 A shot of a glacier landing from the '40's
 Pilot's gear
 They described how the pilots were romanticized in the popular culture, but in reality it was a scary proposition--they just made it up as they went along.  Flying by the seat of your pants was very much the real deal.  This exhibit explained how they always carried tools, especially a lot of baling wire, to make repairs wherever they were, or else they might not have made it back home.
 Airplane skis for landing on the snow

 Exhibits of native clothing

 Spear on the left, paddle on the right
 Athabaskan natives out for a whale hunt in kayaks
 A hunter's mask, practically this helped shield the hunter's face from the sun, but it also was thought to bring on the good luck spirits
 An exhibit about the tragic 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill--pretty damning stuff when you read it all, how the captain turned over the controls to the ship to a crew member who was not authorized to pilot the boat in these waters, how there were warnings given and ignored until it was too late that the ship was off course, and, the all too often response of the company--to obfuscate, deny and delay

 This is a "pig," used in the TransAlaskan pipeline.  Wax is a natural substance in crude oil, and it collects on the walls of the pipeline.  So they insert one of these pigs--a device with a metal core, and rubber blade-like rings that scrape the wax off the walls of the pipeline as the oil pushes the pig to the next pump station.
 Old firetruck on display in the museum dedicated to the 1964 earthquake.  We watched a video that was basically a series of interviews with various people who lived through it--pretty scary stuff!
 Flowers in front of the RV park office

 These dahlias were humongous!

Part of the skull of a whale, outside a museum at the local college.  This museum was the collection of a woman named Maxine Whitney, who came to Alaska in the late '40's and spent her time traveling all over the territory, collecting things for her gift shop.
 Lots of tusks and other ivory that's no longer allowed to be harvested

 Just some of the mukluks, some of the footwear made by native peoples, worn for warmth but always intricately decorated with fine woven beadwork.

 Some stuffed animals; this one representing a seal that had been shot on a hunt

 Old animal skin canoes

 Whimsical ivory carvings of a figure from the early native mythology, used in ceremonies

 Just another typical view in Valdez!

 Trisha and I took a ride along the fabulous trail later that afternoon.  Just hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we were in Alaska, riding our bikes with glaciers on either side of us--just unbelievable!!

 Small waterfall at a protected salmon spawning area
 Salmon spawning

 Cute sign warning people not to leave foodstuffs on the picnic table!

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