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The Skagway, Alaska Museum


A historic photo of what is now the museum at Skagway, Alaska

    For summer visitors to Skagway, there are a dizzying choice of activities, from hiking and town tours to glacier flights and fishing charters (see our Explorer's Guide to Skagway for more information). Tucked in tight to the mountain at the north end of the business district, the town's small museum offers a wonderful range of artifacts from the community's very colorful past, and artistic creations of local residents.

    Since 1961, the museum (then known as The Trail of '98 Museum) has been located in the historic McCabe Building, built of local granite in 1899-1900 as McCabe College. Although not actually a college, McCabe, a Methodist school, was the first school in Alaska to offer a college-preparatory high school curriculum. It was named after Bishop Charles Cardwell McCabe, who was well known for his advocacy of higher education. In 1900, a new civil code allowed tax money to be used to build and maintain public schools, and private institutions such as McCabe College could no longer compete. The building was sold to the federal government on June 1, 1901, for use as a U.S. District Courthouse.

    The City of Skagway took over the building in 1956, and in the 1990s began a multi-year enlargement and restoration. The year 2000 marked the rebirth of the much larger museum in a beautifully-restored building, and the museum is now a popular destination for visitors.


Here are a few photos of the museum - click on each photo to enlarge it.

A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska
A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska

A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska
A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska

A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska

 

The journal in this photo records the deaths of gang leader Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, and City engineer Frank H. Reid, who shot each other on the Skagway dock on July 8, 1898. Smith died on the spot, Reid 12 days later. Both men are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery at the north end of town. A closeup of the journal entry can be seen here.

A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska
A photo of the museum at Skagway, Alaska