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“Very small museum, lets you see historic totem poles.”

Totem Heritage Center
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$700.00*
and up
Private Tour on 14 Passenger Shuttle Bus in...
Ranked #11 of 61 things to do in Ketchikan
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Reviewed October 19, 2010

My mom and I took a cab up here from the cruise ship dock. She doesn't walk well, and it is far enough that for people with mobility issues you will want a cab. We bought the combo ticket for the totem center and fish hatchery. There were several people walking around the totem center, but I didn't see any employees giving tours or anything. My mom sat and I pretty much walked around it on my own.

It is very small with just three rooms. They have signs giving you info, so I don't think you really need a tour. It can all be seen pretty quickly. These are the historical totem poles that mostly don't have paint on them anymore. To me it was interesting to see them, but just don't go in expecting really pretty, perfect totem poles.

As far as I could tell they did not have a gift shop, which is always too bad. Overall it was fun and interesting for us, but I don't know that it's a must-see.

5  Thank LyssaIL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"small museum"
in 29 reviews
"free shuttle"
in 25 reviews
"totem poles"
in 178 reviews
"on display"
in 23 reviews
"native artifacts"
in 4 reviews
"fish hatchery"
in 11 reviews
"various stages"
in 4 reviews
"creek street"
in 33 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 12 reviews
"city park"
in 5 reviews
"historical information"
in 5 reviews
"short visit"
in 5 reviews
"answer questions"
in 6 reviews
"tlingit and haida"
in 4 reviews
"walking tour"
in 9 reviews
"self guided"
in 5 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 5 reviews
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387 - 391 of 419 reviews

Reviewed October 7, 2009

This museum is small and can be seen in 30-45 minutes, with 3 main rooms. It gives you a good insight into the history of totems and native culture in the area and would be great to see right before heading to another totem area, such as Totem Bight Park or Saxman Native Village. $5 admission or $13 combo with the hatchery about a half block away (saves $2 rather than buying separately).

3  Thank bqkali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2009

The totem center was interesting but it is not at all what we expected. If you want to see pretty or touristy totem poles, this is not the place for you. These are authentic but old (unpainted) totems. I enjoyed it but our group REALLY enjoyed the Fish Hatchery, which is available as a dual entrance (I recommend both, but if you only do one, see the Fish Hatchery). However, make sure you ask for a tour. We had one couple that walked through, but never had it explained and were disappointed. The folks there were very happy to guide our group through and explain the entire process.

If you come on a cruise ship, it is a very easy walk from town, particularly if you take the funicular.

5  Thank todd677
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2008

My husband and I were in Ketchikan on a cruise in Sept of 2008 and decided we wanted to explores Ketchikan on our own so we headed out to the visitors center, got our map and off we went!
There was a light drizzle that day but we walked up town to the creek and followed the wooden walks up the cree, past the jumping salmon to the fish hatchery and Totem pole center.
We were the only people there, I guess because walked on our own as a tour bus full arrived just as we were leaving, so we got our own private tour and guide.
Very interesting and informative man, took a lot of pride in his job and town and heritage, he spent alot of time with us explaining to us the eagles and the hatchery.
We then headed over to the Totem poles and again we were the only ones there, but a few minutes later the buses arrived so we got to hear the guide talk about the history and how the Totem poles came to be there.
We then walked around the town area on our way back to the ship and saw many totem poles in locals front yards!
Wonderful time!
The walk was easy and would recommend that over paying for the tour bus as it was less crowded and more enjoyable for us!

14  Thank mcmomny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 4, 2008

We arrived in town on a cruise at 7:30 am and walked through town to the Totem Heritage Center, an interesting little museum. It took about 30 minutes to walk it. They are related to the fish hatchery, and we got tickets to both at a discount from this place. I think it was $12 for both.

The totem poles here were collected from vacant villages and are the real deal. This place preserves them and has about sixteen on display at a time. Three to five are standing and the rest are laying down in big displays where you can really see them. There is a guide who tells you about the poles, their construction and meanings. Also on display are contemporary but very traditional masks, native art that was quite beautiful and interesting old photographs.

We spent about 45 minutes here which was enough to read all the info on each item. Then we went to the fish hatchery which is located on the same parklike property.

After a 30 minute tour of the hatchery, the girl at the front desk was kind enough to call us a cab on her cell phone. A bit further in this direction is the totem park, and any cab will happily offer you a tour for about $75 an hour.

Like everywhere else in Ketchikan, the people were very nice.

9  Thank chrisinsanrafael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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