Day 26, 6/24/15, Wednesday
Weather: The sun could be seen in the sky however faintly. The thickness of the smoke from the numerous wild fires was the strongest yet and has presented an unsafe air quality. The temperatures were in the high seventies to low eighties.
We drove to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. This museum was primarily dedicated to the art history of the native inhabitants as well as contemporary genre. A portion of the museum also provided very extensive information on the Alaskan wild life. We thought of Ryan with all the taxidermy. He described similar exhibits while at the Smithsonian as the animals being “alive, but dead”. He was four at the time.
Of great interest was an unknown piece of Alaskan history about which we were unaware. At the beginning of WWII, Japanese Americans were moved by our government into internment camps for fear that their loyalties to Japan could produce problems for our nation. Well, in a similar way, the Alaskan natives who lived on the furthest series of islands in the Aleutian chain were moved from their homes and villages and taken to placements not very different from the internment camps. This move was done with the idea of protecting them from the Japanese forces should their community be attacked. Unfortunately, once placed there they were essentially forgotten and living accommodation and oversight was absent. We realized that nowhere in our history books did we ever study about this. This is the second experience on our trip where we discovered significant parts of our country’s history ignored in our social studies texts and curriculum.
From the museum we returned to the Visitors Center to check on the status of wild fires between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Our plan for the next couple of days is to begin to drive south toward Anchorage. The number of wild fires in the state has increased to 255 and several are near our route. Time to re-evaluate.
This evening we went to a Salmon Bake back at Pioneer Park followed by an old time vaudeville show at the Palace Theater in the park. The company has been performing this same show for 35 years and it was hilarious!
This was a good, enjoyable day.
G & P