Anchorage, AK – No state’s history is as inexorably linked to the military as Alaska’s. Alaska is home to the highest veteran population per capita of any state in the union and it is the only state in the union where each of the military services played a significant role in shaping the state into what it is today.
Until recently, however, it was also the only state in the union without a veteran’s museum. That all changed in 2011, thanks to the efforts of Col. Suellyn Wright Novak, a former full colonel squadron commander with over 32 years of service in the United States Air Force. Today, Novak is the executive director of the Alaska Veteran’s Museum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the memory of Alaska’s veterans and their sacrifices for America's freedom.
“People, especially young people, need to understand what our veterans sacrificed to give them the life they have today,” says Novak. “We are very proud to tell Alaska’s story.”
The Alaska Veteran’s Museum mission is three-fold: to create a museum; to educate the public on military service; and to support veterans and active duty personnel at home and abroad. The museum opened its doors to the public in April of 2011 to rave reviews and has since attracted over 17,000 visitors.
The museum features historical artifacts including everything from weapons and uniforms to photos and posters. The current exhibit only represents one-fifth of the museum’s total assets. Novak says they want their own building but they need help getting there.
“This is our golden opportunity," says Novak. "The first hurdle has already been surpassed: we’re open.”
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