A Moving Experience


The Valdez Museum launches new exhibit to commemorate 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake



Valdez, Alaska – It’s been 50 years since the record-breaking Good Friday Earthquake shook Alaska, causing widespread devastation and claiming 128 lives. In Valdez, the magnitude 9.2 earthquake was so destructive that the town was forced to relocate four miles from its previous location. This spring and summer, the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive is launching two new exhibits, as well as facilitating a series of events, meant to bring new insight into this significant disaster in Alaska’s history and commemorate this tragic event.

“The Good Friday Earthquake had a huge impact on Valdez, and has really shaped the history and landscape of our town,” said Patricia Relay, executive director of the Valdez Museum. “We are excited to commemorate this significant anniversary and feel like our new exhibits and anniversary events will offer valuable and intriguing information about the Good Friday Earthquake to our visitors.”

The Valdez Museum’s new exhibits commemorating the earthquake include:

  • A new permanent exhibition at the Valdez Museum’s Egan location On March 27, the Egan location will unveil “A Moving Experience: A Look Back at the Good Friday Earthquake,” the museum’s newest permanent exhibition. Funded by the City of Valdez and the Rasmuson Foundation, the exhibit features an Old Town kitchen set mid-quake and a new look at the experience of the earthquake and its effects on Valdez, including rarely-seen artifacts and photographs from the museum’s collection.
  • Extended hours at the Valdez Museum’s Hazelet location The Hazelet Ave. location will be open for special hours March 27– April 5, extending viewing opportunities for visitors. This location features the “Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit,” a scale model of Old Valdez as it appeared in 1963 before the earthquake. This location also features the documentary “Between the Glacier and the Sea,” a touch-screen kiosk featuring personal interviews with earthquake survivors, a furnished section of an Old Town house and exhibits about Valdez’s firefighting history. Extended hours at this location are 12 – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, March 27 – April 5.
  • A temporary traveling exhibition: “Communities, Disaster and Change” Funded by the Western States Arts Federation, the City of Valdez, the Rasumson Foundation and the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., “Communities, Disaster and Change,” will be on display at the museum from May through September 2014 before touring to locations in Alaska and Hawaii. The exhibition features artwork by 28 Alaskan artists.

A series of special events will take place throughout the afternoon on March 27 in remembrance of the earthquake, including:

  • 4:30 p.m. – Bill Kendall will give a presentation at the museum’s Hazelet location, with new images from the earthquake.
  • 5:30 p.m. –The Pioneers of Alaska will meet on Kelsey Dock for their Annual Memorial Service.
  • 6 p.m. – The City of Valdez will host a public reception followed by the unveiling of “A Moving Experience,” a new earthquake exhibit at the museum’s Egan location.

The Valdez Museum and Historical Archive is an active place that brings the stories of Valdez’s history alive through programs and activities. The museum is located at 217 Egan Drive in downtown Valdez, with the “Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit” at 436 S. Hazelet on the Valdez waterfront.