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“Learned a lot” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Totem Heritage Center

Totem Heritage Center
601 Deermount Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901
+1 907-225-5900
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Ranked #9 of 18 Attractions in Ketchikan
Type: Historic Sites, History Museums, Museums
Activities: Arts and crafts
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Totem Heritage Center was established in 1976 to house and preserve endangered 19th century totem poles retrieved from uninhabited Tlingit and Haida village sites near Ketchikan and to preserve and promote Native artistic and cultural traditions through traditional classes. The Center is home to 33 authentic poles, numerous historic images, and Native art works. Educational and interpretive tours are available.
Gainesville, Florida
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Learned a lot”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

We learned a lot about totems at the Totem Heritage Center. It is a great place to visit in Ketchikan. I would highly recommend it.

Visited July 2013
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Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Top Contributor
171 reviews 171 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
“Excellent introduction to native culture.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

My wife and I arrived on the Norwegian Pearl on a rainy day in June. The center is within easy (but uphill) walking distance of the cruise ship docks. The museum provides an excellent overview of the variety of totem designs that represent the cultures of the local First Nations. Some historical pieces are displayed laying down so that you can get a good look at the carving. The interpretive signs were not the best, but you could figure things out. There is also a room displaying other art forms from the local native cultures. The high point of our visit was a conversation with one of the docents, a young Tlingit women. She was very informative, and brought the carvings to life. My wife restores historical painted surfaces, so was especially interested in hearing about the materials used to paint the totems. The docent also advised us to look through the windows into the basement of the museum to see the original Chief Johnson totem pole (the one standing in the center of town is a replica). Just walk underneath the ramp that leads into the museum and check it out. While we couldn't see it very well, it was still special. The museum is well worth the small admission charge, especially when you know that it goes to the preservation of this historic art form.

Visited June 2013
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Minnesota
Top Contributor
328 reviews 328 reviews
59 attraction reviews
Reviews in 99 cities Reviews in 99 cities
163 helpful votes 163 helpful votes
“Not Worth Your Time!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

We were very disappointed in the Heritage Center. It is very small. Our kids were bored and unimpressed. There are so many things to see in Ketchikan, don't spend your time here! It was not worth the $5 admission.

Visited July 2013
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Palm Coast, Florida
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12 reviews 12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Not much to see but interesting nonetheless”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

My husband and I took our own walking tour of Ketchikan and happened upon the Totem Heritage Center. It was only $10 admission for both of us and is a very small facility. But it has some interesting history and native collections. The Center houses and maintains totems, other carvings, regalia, and photographs, helping to preserve items of the cultural traditions of the native Tlingits. This is a good facility for school-age children: not overwhelming and good exposure to other cultures.

Visited June 2013
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Chicago, IL
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20 reviews 20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great introduction to Native Alaskan culture”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

We hadn't planned on visiting this museum but were glad we did. We'd hopped on the free shuttle bus downtown near the cruise ship dock with the intention of riding it out toward the eagle viewing area but chose to get off at the Totem Heritage Center instead. It's a small museum but the exhibits and accompanying explanations are very interesting and informative. Although no guided tour was offered to us (we visited at the end of May and there weren't many other visitors), there was a very knowledgeable volunteer near the entrance inside the museum who answered our questions. It definitely was worth the hour or so that we spent here.

Visited May 2013
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