Visitor Center – Sitka National Historic Park
The Visitor Center helps visitors learn the history and understand the culture of the native Sitka Tlingit community. As modern times have distanced the Tlingits from their old lifestyle; the Visitor Center also provides an artist studio in which they can learn and practice their crafts.
The cultural center is housed in the Sitka National Park building. It was established in 1969, just a few years after the National Park opened the visitor center. There is a tremendous amount of history in the cultural center. The many exhibits, collections and informational placards all work together to give you an idea of the strife between the Russians and the Tlingits. You will gain a new appreciation of how the Tlingits have struggled to retain their identity and culture.
Some of the original 100-year-old totem poles still remain, standing in a climate-controlled room to keep them preserved as long as possible. Other Tlingit artifacts in the center have been donated by local clans who wanted to make sure they would continue to be used in the traditional way.
The native artists who are still involved in doing projects the way of their ancestors. You can interact with them and ask questions about their work. Also (when they’re offered) you can take courses in bead work, weaving, bentwood box making, and box drum making, taught by these artists. Over the years, this cultural center has also sponsored special projects such as carving and raising the 35-foot Indian River History Totem Pole in front of the visitor center, and carving a traditional Tlingit canoe.
SUMMER HOURS AND FEES
Open daily: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Address: 106 Metlakatla St, Sitka, AK 99835
Phone: (907) 747-0110