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Archives celebrate Alaska's railroads

Trains are the focus at the university archives as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Railroad. As part of National Archives Month, the public is invited to an open house on Thursday.

For an archivist like Rachel Cohen getting the public amongst the rare books and maps is a highlight in the month of October, she works at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“So we are on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska,Fairbanks. So you have to come down a couple of staircases”.

This Thursday the Archives are welcoming the public to experience historical photographs, films, maps, recordings, and other memorabilia carefully preserved by archivists at UAF. Among those are artifacts covering the relationship between Alaska and its railroad.

“We'll have some screens that will be playing historic footage of railroads in Alaska. We'll have a variety of photographs and archives on display, and the Alaskan Native Language Archive will be joining us, and they'll have a table full of material as well from their collection”.

Cohen says trains are the focus of this year’s open house to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Alaska Railroad. The archives play a role in maintaining the history of Alaska’s rail heritage. The open house will acknowledge individuals and organizations that built, operated, and maintained the railroads that connected many of our state’s communities.

Trains are not the only item highlighted at the archives.

“We have really, really incredible contents. And there's really amazing material. It's a world class collection and we don't often have sort of the excuse to pull it out and get to show it off, these open houses are really a rare opportunity for the curators to just kind of pull out things that we think are neat and put them on display”.

The open house is from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., refreshments will be served, and parking on UAF campus is free after 5:00 p.m.