Tenakee Museum. (C. Allred Photo January 2018)Museum

A long held dream is realized. The Tenakee Springs Museum opened July 2, 2017!

In 2010, THC hired museum consultant Mary Pat Wyatt to look at our materials and help make initial decisions. Based on her recommendations, we requested assistance from the Alaska State Museum (ASM) for guidance on how best to proceed. In May 2011 Scott Carlee, Curator of Museum Services for the ASM, visited Tenakee to meet with a group of interested volunteers. With Scott’s help, the THC submitted a grant to ASM for a summer 2012 intern trained in proper museum policies and procedures. Our intern Kate Duffy, will spend 8 weeks with us. She was present at the grand opening and cut the ribbon

Following his visit to Tenakee, Scott also wrote a Museum Assessment, which now serves as THC’s primary  guidance document for dealing with its collection and setting museum policies and procedures.


The owners of the Snyder Mercantile building have leased the small wood frame building west of the store to the THC for a dollar a month to house the museum. It is a small space, but being at the center of town, close to the ferry dock, has advantages. In the early 1900s the building was the school and was later moved to the current site where it served as a liquor store for decades. In 2012, the work of refurbishing the building began; in 2017 it was completed. A new roof was constructed, the exterior was repaired and the interior entirely redone. The interior walls are now drywall except for the stairs and ceiling, which are reused wainscoting and grooved lumber. The building is now well insulated and is heated geothermally via a radiant in-floor system. The source of the heat is warm water that emerges from the foundation of the nearby bathhouse. Cost of heating is very minimal and the temperature is constant.

The link below opens a 27 min documentary on YouTube created by Carlene Allred about the project.


THC, under the long term direction of President Vicki Wisenbaugh who steadfastly held to her dream of a museum, accumulated the collection over nearly thirty years. Donors are too numerous to list here. As part of the recent Snyder Mercantile building renovation, Guy Thornburgh donated Snyder Merc records going back to the early 1900s and before his death, Bob Pegues contributed materials he had collected in hopes of writing a book about the Superior Cannery.

Much of the collection is paper archives, but it also includes numerous historic domestic and non-domestic pieces representative of Tenakee's history since 1899.  Of note, we have an old still used during the days of prohibition, a springboard used in logging, and collections of merchandise once available through the Merc  We also house a small collection of Tlingit  artifacts; mainly on loan from local private land owners for display. The collection is ever increasing now that donors know there is a venue in which to showwcase Tenakee’s unique history.


Presently the museum is open for three hours, three days a week using a staff of volunteers. These hours are set to be compatible with ferry arrival and departure times.  The museum is also open by appointment.

Tenakee Museum (C. Allred Photo January 2018)

Museum operations are presently overseen by volunteers holding the three formal "positions" listed below. Additional volunteers are involved with the day to day operations - such as tending the building when open, and cataloging collections. 

Director— Baret Barnes (manages operations and coordinates volunteers)

Curator/Collections Manager— Vickie Wisenbaugh (oversees the care, display and information about the objects in the collection)

Development Manager— Theresa Hura (assists the Director with fundraising)

Tenakee Museum Interior (C. Allred Photo January 2018)