Mission and History | Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center

Mission and History

Our Mission

  • Celebrate Interior Alaska’s people, land, and culture.
  • Promote economic development via tourism, with an emphasis on rural Alaska.
  • Be a community gathering place, where diverse cultures come together to understand, appreciate and respect one another.

Since 1998 three separate organizations in Interior Alaska struggled with inadequate space that made it difficult to meet the needs of those they served. Explore Fairbanks and the Alaska Public Lands Information Center (APLIC) talked of sharing a new facility that would inspire residents and visitors to get out and explore Interior and Arctic Alaska. At the same time, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) dreamed of having a cultural center to preserve Athabascan languages, carry-on traditional knowledge through Elder teachings, and instill confidence and pride in Alaska Native youth. It was Alaska’s Congressional delegation, led by Senator Ted Stevens, who suggested these three entities work together to plan and build a joint facility.

To some, it was an unlikely partnership. But leaders from each partner agency rolled up their sleeves and immersed themselves in the business of building, planning and raising funds for construction. Now that we’ve opened, facility operation and maintenance costs are shared. The vision of working together remains strong.

The sum of this partnership is truly greater than its individual parts. The synergy of working together has created a world class visitor center at a price none could afford on their own. Partner activities and programs complement each other in a way that allows each distinct organization to better fulfill its individual mission.

Many have worked to encourage urban and rural Alaska to put away differences of the past and find common ground—none more than the late Morris Thompson who was widely recognized as a bridge between cultures. The Center is committed to honoring his legacy by promoting improved appreciation and understanding between Alaska Native and non-Native communities. As Alaska Native business leader and member of the fundraising team Byron Mallott stated early in the project planning, “If we can get it right in the Morris Thompson Center, it can be an example to others of how we can work together for the benefit of all Alaskans.”

While visiting the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center you will experience the grandeur of Interior Alaska. Located on the banks of the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks, this extraordinary community centerpiece celebrates who we are and how we live. It educates residents and visitors about our natural and cultural history, and we hope it motivates you to go out and explore all that Fairbanks and the Interior has to offer.


The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center is committed to ensuring that no person shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by MTCVC. Please contact the MTCVC Executive Director with questions or comments about the MTCVC’s non-discrimination policies, to get additional information, or to file a complaint.

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center Executive Director, 101 Dunkel St., Suite 210, Fairbanks, AK 99701, info@morristhompsoncenter.org, 907.459.3701.