Baranov Museum Celebrates Transfer of Alaska to the United States

Baranov Museum. (Photo by J. Stephen Conn / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Wednesday marked the 150th anniversary of the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States.

Baranov Museum collections manager Michael Bach says many people have referred to the 1867 purchase as Seward’s Folly.

“It was viewed as a mistake and there’s contention because at that time it wasn’t necessarily purchasing the land, but it was purchasing holdings of the Russian-American Company in Alaska, and so it’s important to our community because obviously the Baranov museum is one of those buildings that was transferred.”

He says the Baranov Museum, which is also the oldest building in Alaska, used to be a storehouse and belonged to the Russian-American Company.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary, the museum put together a guide to some of the city’s historic areas, and marked the pavement at each site with a big dipper stencil.

This weekend, the museum will host a run-walk and stop at some of those locations.

Bach says it starts at the visitor center and continues onto Sargent Park, where the Sargent family home once stood. People will make their way over the bridge, hit Trident Basin, and head back to the museum, all the while checking out old photos of what Kodiak once looked like.

Bach says his favorite vantage point is looking out at the waterfront from the museum grounds.

“It used to be kinda the center of town. It used to the height of commerce. There used to be a lot of trade ships that would come and dock there in the channel, and you can see all of that activity and life in the historic photo.”

He says that area has changed a lot just in the time that he’s lived in the city.

The walk begins Saturday at 10 a.m. at the visitor center. French fries and fry bread will follow.

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