Contributed by Nancy Hall
The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry (MATI) is now a Blue Star Museum. Blue Star Museums were formed by a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America. Blue Star families are active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to these families. The 2019 Blue Star Museums program began on Saturday, May 18, 2019, Armed Forces Day, and will end on Monday, September 2, 2019, Labor Day.
We invite Blue Star Families to take advantage of the free admission to see our museum. In addition to the overall history of Alaska, many of the museum displays show the influence the military has had on the history and development of Alaska including military planes, helicopters, communication and much more.
As a current military family, you may have heard of the Fisher House Foundation. The Foundation provides homes where military & veterans families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital. Most locations have approximately 21 units with private bedrooms and baths for each family. Each building has common shared kitchen, dining room and living room. These are common in the US, but the first Fisher House in the UK was started in 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.
Eighteen-year-old British citizen, Oliver Plunket went on a quest to raise funds for the UK Fisher House. As an inexperienced motorcycle rider, he bought a Yamaha XT60Z. Starting in Ushuaia, Argentina, he rode 24,000 miles to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. It took him eight months with his goal of raising 100,000 pounds.
Upon the completion of his journey he donated his bike to the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla, AK.
His bike, along with many other items of Alaskan military history are housed at the MATI museum. Unlike many television programs, MATI gives you a real picture of the history of Alaska.
Come see the real Alaska.
The museum is open 10 AM to 5 PM, seven days a week, from Mother’s Day to Labor Day.