Juneau, Alaska’s capital since 1900, sits at the base of Mt. Juneau. This capital blends its history as a mining town with old storefronts and saloons with the modern architecture of government and Native corporations.
In the late 1800s, gold became the foundation of Juneau. The town contained a variety of gold mines with the Alaska-Juneau, or A-J, mine the most successful. The A-J mine buildings are still visible above town. Other gold mines include the Treadwill Mine complex at Douglas and the Alaska-Gastineau mine south of town. A massive cave-in occurred at Treadwill in 1917 and the mine closed. When gold content dropped below profitable margins in 1921, the Alaska-Gastineau mine closed. The A-J mine continued operations until World War II, when labor shortages and high costs forced its closure.
Located in downtown Juneau, the Davis Log Cabin Information Center is operated by the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. A free brochure is available at the center that includes a walking tour map and information about other Alaska communities. The Davis Cabin is open every day in the summer.
The USFS Information Center is located at the corner of Eagan Drive and Willoughby Avenue. Visitors can view films and videos on Glacier Bay National Park, bald eagles, humpback whales, the Tongass National Forest, mountain goats, Admiralty Island, Dall sheep, and life in logging camps.
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is located at the base of the glacier and is open every day in the summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors can take a guided tour and learn about marine ecology. Films and videos are available that provide information on the glacier and mountain goats.
Juneau is the proud home to the Alaska State Museum, featuring permanent displays of Eskimo and Southeast Indian artifacts. The museum also offers changing displays of Alaska’s political and natural history.
Visit the Juneau Douglas City Museum and learn about Juneau’s history. Exhibits include features on gold mining and Juneau’s historic past. A small admission fee is charged to adults. Children under the age of 18 are admitted free of charge.
The Alaska Maritime Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit group, is planning to build a tall ship for Alaska. It will be used to train sailors and people with disabilities in seamanship, environmental studies, goodwill trips, and charter work.