3 Best Sights in Valdez, The Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska

Columbia Glacier

A visit to Columbia Glacier, which flows from the surrounding Chugach Mountains, should definitely be on your Valdez agenda. Its deep aquamarine face is 5 miles across, and it calves icebergs with resounding cannonades. This glacier is one of the largest and most readily accessible of Alaska's coastal glaciers. The state ferry travels past its face, and scheduled tours of the glaciers and the rest of the sound are available by boat and aircraft from Valdez, Cordova, and Whittier.

Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum

This museum contains one of the largest collections of Alaska Native artifacts. Over the course of several decades, Maxine Whitney, a gift-shop owner, amassed the ivory and baleen pieces, masks, dolls, fur garments, and other objects. Whitney donated her collection to Prince William Sound Community College in 1998; the museum is adjacent to the college.

Valdez Museum & Historical Archive

The museum has two sections, the Egan and the Hazelet, named after their respective streets. The highlights of the museum at 436 S. Hazelet include a 35- by 40-foot model of what Old Town looked like before the 1964 earthquake and artifacts of the historic event that registered 9.5 on the Richter scale. An award-winning film that screens often describes the quake. Two blocks away, the 217 Egan site explores the lives, livelihoods, and events significant to Valdez and surrounding regions. On display are a restored 1880s Gleason & Bailey hand-pump fire engine, a 1907 Ahrens steam fire engine, and a 19th-century saloon, and there are exhibits about local Alaska Native culture, early explorers, bush pilots, and the 1989 oil spill. Every summer the museum hosts an exhibit of quilts and fiber arts made by local and regional artisans, and other exhibits are presented seasonally.

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