A tiny yet delightful museum illustrating Seattle's role in the 1897–98 Gold Rush in the Klondike region, this gem is located inside a historic redbrick building with wooden floors and soaring ceilings. Walls are lined with photos of gold miners, explorers, and the hopeful families who followed them. Film presentations, gold-panning demonstrations (daily in summer, at 10 and 3), and rotating exhibits are scheduled throughout the year. Other sectors of this park are in southeast Alaska.
Oct 29, 2014
My spouse and I visited the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park on a Monday afternoon in mid-August 2014. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the summer, and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in the winter. Admission is free. The Klondike Museum is located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. It occupies the space of the former 1889 Cadillac Hotel on Second Avenue South. The Cadillac Hotel was a major outfitter and departure
point for prospectors during the gold rush, so it seems fitting that a museum that commemorates the starting point of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1890 in the Yukon Territory now stands there. The National Park Service (NPS) opened this museum in 1979. It is the country’s second-smallest national park, although you can spend a few hours here if you examine everything. (FYI: The smallest park is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is a house where the Polish freedom fighter lived and hosted patriots such as Thomas Jefferson during the American Revolution.) An additional branch of the Klondike Museum is located in Skagway, Alaska, where the gold rush ended. The Klondike Museum and interpretive center allows guests to step back in time through photographs and descriptions of settlers who participated in the gold rush stampede in the late 1800s. The museum is well planned, attractive, and interesting to visitors of all ages (even children) because most of the displays are interactive and multi-sensory. The museum tells the story of the stampede to the Yukon gold fields and Seattle's role in the event from the perspective of four fictitious people: a young girl, a middle-aged man, a middle-aged woman, and an older woman of color. The museum contains replicas of newspapers, mining equipment, prospector supplies set in models of a miner’s cabin and a general store. The museum shows several films (of 20+ minutes each) that explain the gold rush story more fully on a rotating basis in the theatre. National park rangers staff the museum, and they offer “junior ranger” programs for children to pique their interest. When children complete the activities in their booklets, a NPS ranger awards them a badge. The site contains bathrooms and water fountains, but no on-site cafe or vending machines are present. (However, many restaurants and shops are located on the streets surrounding the museum.) The museum covers two levels, with both stair and elevator access between the floors. We enjoyed spending time at this small museum, and because it offers free admission, it is a winning proposition for everyone.