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Alaska: Flurry of Oddities

outline of Alaska.Who says that Alaska isn’t full of fun things to see — even in the dead of winter? Not us! A sampling of recent news stories lays to rest the notion that there’s ever an “off-season” in the Land of the Midnight Sun….

A 1,263-pound aerial bomb, with “Da Bomb” painted on its side, has been blown up by a special disposal team from Fort Richardson on Kodiak Island. For nearly 20 years the bomb stood next to Big Jim’s bar in Kodiak. When Jim decided to give the bomb to the town’s Military History Museum, it was discovered that the bomb was still packed with high explosives. The disposal team has reportedly given a fragment of Da Bomb to the Museum to display, along with a video of the detonation.

Since the 1930s the Museum of the North in Fairbanks has exhibited a car built from junk by a Skagway resident who had never seen a real car. Instead, he modeled his scrap-metal-mobile on drawings that he found in magazines. The car has been moved cross-town to the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, which hopes to restore it to running condition. A story in the Daily News-Miner calls the vehicle “one of the most important cars in Alaska history,” and notes that it “was almost as popular in the museum’s early days as the nearly albino moose.”

A article in the Kodiak Daily Mirror goes into great detail on the Baranov Museum‘s efforts to restore its collection of old gut-skin jackets (The museum wants to put them back on display). One of the jackets needed 12 hours of work because it “was eaten by bugs;” another was part of an exhibit “that let the gut sag over” and had to be placed in a special chamber “to soften the gut so that it could be unfolded.” The conservator still doesn’t know what kind of gut the jackets are made of, but she guesses that it’s bear.

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