Located on Main Street in the center of town, the Sheldon Museum (907/766-2366, www.sheldonmuseum.org, Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 1–4 p.m. mid-May–mid-Sept. and when cruise ships are in port, Mon.–Fri. 1–4 p.m. winter, $3 adults, under age 13 free) houses a fine collection of items from the gold rush, such as Jack Dalton’s sawed-off shotgun and Tlingit artifacts—including Chilkat blankets, a gorgeous carved ceremonial hat from the Murrelet clan, and a model of a tribal house. Upstairs, you can watch the excellent Audubon Society video about the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, or see a slide show about local history.
The strangest sight in Haines has to be the Hammer Museum (108 Main St., 907/766-2374, www.hammermuseum.org, Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. mid-May–early Nov., $3, under age 13 free). Collector and hammer expert Dave Pahl displays some 1,500 types of hammers, from cobbler’s hammers to those used by 19th-century bankers. The oldest—OK, it’s basically a shaped rock—was used in the building of Egypt’s pyramids. Be sure to read the funny story of how Pahl’s dog was saved by a hammer-shaped piece of wood.
American Bald Eagle Foundation
The American Bald Eagle Foundation (907/766-3094, www.baldeagles.org, $3 adults, $1 ages 8–12, younger children free) sits at the intersection of Haines Highway and 2nd Avenue. Inside you’ll find a collection of stuffed animals and a video about eagles. Outside is a mews containing live bald eagles that could not survive in the wild. Don’t miss talks by founder Dave Olerud, who provides an introduction to eagles and their role in the web of life. The facility is open Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 1–5 p.m. May–August, with shortened hours the rest of September and during the Eagle Festival in early November, and closed the rest of the year.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition