Founded in 1929 and located on a different spot on the University of Alaska, the Museum of the North is the only research, teaching and collecting institution in the state. A natural and cultural history museum, it houses 1.4 million artifacts and specimens from Alaska and the circumpolar region. Specifically, the collection is comprised of ten areas: archaeology, birds, documentary film, earth sciences, ethnology/history, fine arts, fishes/marine invertebrates, insects, mammals, and plants. The museum is perhaps most well known for the 36,000 year old mummified steppe bison (named Blue Babe). The building itself features an addition built in 2005 designed by world-renowned architect Joan Sorrano.
The museum grew and acquired collections in the decades after its founding. It eventually moved to the current spot in 1980.