Discover Kodiak Blog

Q & A: Baranov Museum

Written by: Posted on: December 31, 1969 at 7:00PMPosted in: Main Topic


Many of you that have visited Kodiak have probably visited our museums including the Baranov Museum. With the years of the building being around building, so do the questions. This Q&A is here to help inform you about some history on Kodiak Island.  I interviewed an employee of the museum, Hannah Grace, and I learned more than ever!


Q: How do you like working at the Baranov Museum?

A: I really like it.


Q: What is your favorite part about working there?

A: Meeting people from different places.


Q: When was the Baranov Museum built and what was its purpose?

A: The Baranov Museum was built in 1808 by the Russian colonists who had made Kodiak Island their primary settlement. They built it as a warehouse for the Russian-American inventory of seal and sea otter pelts.


Q: I was told the Baranov Museum is the oldest structure in Alaska. Is that true?

A: Yes, it was very well maintained when it was an important warehouse for the highly desired seal and sea otter pelts, and because of that it is the oldest building in Alaska and the oldest log structure recorded in the United States.

Q: Why is the museum also called the “Erskine House”?

A: In 1911, W.J. Erskine, who worked in the building when it was the property of the Alaska Commercial Company, decided to buy the building from his employer and turned it into his family home. Thus, being called the Erskine House.


Q: How did the Baranov Museum become a museum?

A: In 1967, after surviving the 1964 earthquake & tsunami, the Kodiak Historical Society decided to renovate the building and exposed the original log walls. The City of Kodiak assumed ownership and opened up as the Baranov Museum.


Q: What type of things can you expect to see within the Baranov Museum?

A: Well, there are so many artifacts and documents of old Kodiak that are preserved in the building. Photographs, weaved baskets, tools and so much more are also displayed within the building to help tell the story of how Kodiak used to be.


Q: What do you have to tell the readers about the Baranov Museum?

A: All I can say is that the Baranov Museum is a very important of the Kodiak Community as well as Alaska History. It is a must see!


The gathered information was extremely interesting and I had a lot of fun with the interview. Hopefully, you learned just as much as I did if not more! I agree with Hannah that it is definitely a must see! It also has a mini gift shop where you can purchase some local finds!


Sources & Web site Information: Tiffany Brunson, director


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