Anchorage Museum Association

Anchorage Museum of History and Art

Precise interior climate requirements, extreme exterior climate conditions.

With over 90 percent of a wide-ranging collection lying out of sight in storage, the Anchorage Museum sought expansion as a way to interpret more of what the already held and also facilitate the return of over 2,000 Alaska Native artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution. In order to meet the Smithsonian’s preconditions for the return of these artifacts, the museum was required to meet specific museum stewardship standards that demand a constant humidity level of roughly 55%. David Chipperfield’s striking design for the 70,000 square foot expansion called for full-height windows. Anchorage’s severe winters required strategies for perimeter heat to prevent condensation and frost on the exterior glazing.


Anchorage, AK


  • David Chipperfield Architects - Design Architect
  • Kumin Associates Inc. - Architect of Record

LEED Status

LEED Certified

Building Size

75,000 square feet

The expansion houses Alaska's Science Discovery Center; the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center; a Young Learners Discovery Gallery; archives and an historical library containing over 10,000 books and 400,000 photos.

In addition to designing the mechanical systems to maintain precise humidity, air filtration, and temperature control in exhibit and storage areas, AEI devised a heating element configuration between the panes of exterior glass to radiate heat and prevent fogging with the rising warm air. Full-scale mockups and airflow models confirmed the system's capacity to prevent condensation. AEI provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, information technology, audiovisual design and commissioning for the renovation and expansion of this signature museum.

constant interior humidity

"Archival humidification requirements, in a glass box, in Alaska is an irresistible engineering challenge.” – Dean Eriksen, PE, LEED AP, NCEES, Project Manager

The Museum also features a two-acre urban birch forest and tidal pool/ice rink.

average winter low

Built in 1968, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art is established as Anchorage's cultural and artistic center.

Project Leaders