Father with young kids tours the exhibits at Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.


How We Live: The People and the Land

Exhibit Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for walk in visitors. Reservations for groups of three or more available at 08:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. daily (one group/day).

We are the land between the mountains, where ancient rhythms of the natural world flow as they have for thousands of years. Our lives are part of the cadence, entwined with the change of the seasons and the life of the land. This is our story. This is how we live…

Three life-sized dioramas depict the seasons. In Summer, walk through a rural fish at Nuchalawoyya—the place where the Yukon and Tanana rivers meet. In Fall, a grizzly bear digs for ground squirrels just outside of a camp. The hunter must be out looking around. In Winter, peer out the windows from the warmth of a public use cabin to see northern lights dance across the sky. A moose is looking back at you!

As you continue through the exhibits, take in films capturing the mood of winter and spring in the Interior and examine displays featuring artwork, objects, and information about the cultural and economic history of the state.

Exhibit Team

Exhibit design firm André & Associates – Interpretation and Design Ltd., led the creation of the exhibits through a collaborative process involving the partners, architect, exhibit designer, and hundreds of people from throughout Interior Alaska. Jan Vriesen of Vriesen & Vriesen Studios worked for 15 months painting the murals that encompass the summer, autumn, and winter dioramas. Gary Brees of Brees Studio, Inc. collected or created and placed each of the plants, rocks, animals, and landscape features that bring the dioramas into three dimensions. Chris Sia of CPS Electronics designed and engineered the sunset and northern lights show outside the window of the BLM cabin in the winter diorama. He and Bianca Message of Andre and Associates returned to Alaska in 2019 to refresh each of the dioramas with new lighting technology and loving artistic touches that brought the space to life in new ways. Other important contributors to the exhibits include Beck Interiors, Chedd-Angier-Lewis Production Company, and Moving Images.  

Important COVID-19 UPDATE: Reopening June 15 • Learn More >