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Museum's Fun Fest Adapts to Construction Zone

Submitted by Kerynn Fisher
Phone: (907) 474-6941


For one Sunday each June over the past four years, University of Alaska Museum visitors have been surprised by peals of laughter and the pitter patter of little feet filling the galleries as part of the TOTE Family Fun Fest. The annual event features hands-on arts and science activities under a big top tent, complemented by a scavenger hunt in the galleries.

At this year's TOTE Family Fun Fest, to be held this Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., things will be a little different. With work on the museum's new wing well underway, the event's traditional site the museum's east lawn is now a construction zone. Since the show must go on, the big top tent and hands-on activities have been relocated to the UAF Patty Center.

As in past years, kids will enjoy navigating a salmon migration obstacle course, building bug barns and dissecting owl pellets, all returning favorites. New activities include making an amulet bag, designing totem poles and learning Eskimo dances, which will be taught by Sean and Amy Topkok and other members of the Pavva Inupiaq dance group. The gallery scavenger hunt remains an integral part of the event and will send kids in search of the Papilio machaon butterfly, modern Yup'ik dance fans and a charm belt among the museum's exhibits.

The TOTE Family Fun Fest started in 1999 as a fund-raiser for the museum's expansion and has grown in popularity every year. Last year, more than 1,300 children and parents participated in this fun-filled day museum. Totem Ocean Trailer Express sponsors the annual event, with additional support from 16 other local businesses.

Construction resumed in April on the Museum's new wing, which is expected to open in fall 2005. The Museum remains open throughout construction, with designated summer visitor parking across the street.

Contact: Kerynn Fisher, Communications Coordinator, University of Alaska Museum, at (907) 474-6941 or (907) 378-2559.