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Alaska State Troopers Museum

by Murray Lundberg


Dateline: November 5, 1999 - this article does not describe the current museum, which is much larger and has many more exhibits, but is being left here for historical interest.

    Whether your interests lie in hiking, shopping or cultural pursuits, Anchorage has lots to offer. When I was in town last week, I decided to have a look at a museum set up to honour the Alaska State Troopers and other law enforcement personnel in "The Great Land." What I had intended as maybe a half-hour visit turned into a couple of hours. The photos that follow should give you a bit of an idea why.

Alaska State Troopers patch     The museum is operated by the Fraternal Order of Alaska State Troopers (F.O.A.S.T.). Founded in the late 1960s to lobby for an improved retirement system, the organization welcomes members from all sections of the Department of Public Safety, including the State Troopers, Fish and Wildlife Protection, Fire Prevention, and the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory. Associate membership is open to members of other law enforcement agencies, as well as to the general public when sponsored by an active member. There are currently over 700 members.

    Opened in 1991, the museum has steadily increased both its collection of artifacts, and the size of its quarters. Since 1996, it has been located in a highly-visible location on 6th Avenue, right across the street from Nordstrom's. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 until 4:00, and on Saturday from noon until 4:00. Summer hours are extended - call the museum at (907) 279-5050 for details. There is no admission charge. Proceeds from gift shop sales help offset expenses, and F.O.A.S.T. has strong financial support from the business community thoughout the state.

    One of the displays that really caught my eye is a series of 5 paintings by George Rodgers, a former Alaska Highway Patrolman. I've posted photos of them on a separate page.

    Throughout my 2 visits to the museum, I got enthusiastic responses to all of my questions from Judith Zundel, the Executive Director of F.O.A.S.T., and Lt. Franco D'Angelo, President of the association. The bad part about the visits, though, is that now I'm really jealous that we don't have something like this on the Yukon side!





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1952 Hudson Hornet patrol car in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

A fully restored 1952 Hudson Hornet patrol car is the museum's most prominent display. Two cars were restored by the Trooper Golden Anniversary Committee in 1991, with one being auctioned off to raise money for the celebrations.

Trooper's office display in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


A well-equipped Trooper's office as it would have looked in the 1950s. The range of equipment, from sealskin boots and snowshoes to the best of camera and radio equipment, gives an idea of what a police officer's duties could consist of.

Uniform display in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


The blue uniform is the standard Alaska State Trooper's, and the brown one is worn by the 80 Fish & Wildlife Protection officers. Between them is a plaque honouring the officers who have died in the line of duty.

in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


The gloves on the left were presented to Trooper William Hughes at a memorial potlatch in 1996. The photo is of early native policeman Kitcheenault Jake.

in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


The firearms display includes a wide range of guns, including pistols, rifles, and a Thompson sub-machine gun (the machine gun was never used by the Troopers).

Communications equipment display in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


A wide variety of communications equipment is on display, from a 1950s radio base station and telephone to car units and portables ("walkie-talkies").

'Mounties' display in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

"Mounties corner" contains posters, badges and regalia, and this year, the trophy from the annual pistol shooting competition between the Alaska State Troopers and "M" Division (Yukon) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This competition is another of F.O.A.S.T.'s projects.

One of the badge displays in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska



One of several badge displays.

'Safety Bear' in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

Safety Bear first appeared in 1975 in the AST's school safety programs. The bear seen here was designed by Disney design company Roschu in 1976, and now visits about 10,000 children each year. F.O.A.S.T. supplies Safety Bear reflectors (which are clipped onto clothing) to children as part of this program.

in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

The beautiful pair of moose and caribou hide boots on the left were made in 1971 by Dorothy Charles of Dot Lake. The beading includes the AST emblem. Also in the case are ID cards, regulations manuals, property envelopes and other supplies and equipment.

Display of Trans Alaska Pipeline sabotage attacks, in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


In the early days of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, sabotage was a serious problem. This display shows the results of a couple of bombings.

Patrol car photo in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

"Obey the Limit In the late 1970s the Federal Government Highway Safety Program funded a program to make drivers more aware of the 55 mph speed limit, with the use of yellow patrol cars. The program lasted about a year."

Photo of Fran Howard, the first female Alaska State Trooper, in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska "Trooper Fran Howard, Alaska State Troopers recruit class of 1970. The first unrestricted service female State Trooper in the United States." On the right, she is photographed with Commissioner Mel Personett at the graduation ceremony.

Photo of an 'Oregon Boot' in the Alaska State Troopers Museum, Anchorage, Alaska


An early leg-iron, the 'Oregon Boot' - said to be impossible to escape from. Several types of handcuffs are also in this display.

K-9 Unit T-shirts are available the Alaska State Troopers 
Museum, Anchorage, Alaska - 'You Can Run But You Can't Hide'



Alaska State Troopers K-9 Unit
T-shirts are available - "You Can Run But You Can't Hide"


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All photos are ©1999-2009 by Murray Lundberg, and are not to be reproduced without permission.