Today it rained on and off, so it gave us a chance to sleep in a little and leisurely get ready to explore Valdez. We visited the Valdez Museum, in two locations with the second one focusing on the original site of the town.
Outside the main museum is this scraper pig.
Scraper pigs are used to remove wax deposits inside the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Wax is a natural component of crude oil, and it collects on the walls of the pipe, reducing the oil flow.
The pig travels along with the oil at about 6 mph, and is removed at a pump station. There are also “smart pigs” that not only remove wax from the pipes but also collect information about the inside of the pipes, such as deformities and corrosion.
Here are a few items displayed inside the museum: 1907 Ahrens steam fire engine.
1866 Gleason & Bailey handpumped fire engine.
This bar was manufactured in Chicago in the late 1880s and brought to the Pacific Coast around the tip of South America and used in the Seattle area before being brought to Valdez. There were two sections, making the bar 40 feet long.
Rock-Ola Jukebox, 1936, which played 78 RPM records from the late 1920s.
Diamond Willow, a collector’s item because of its size and the number of diamonds, found near Fairbanks.
The other location of the museum is near the ferry dock, and is called “Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit.” Old Valdez was located 4 miles away from the current site, closer to the route north toward the Klondike where hopeful stampeders traversed, hoping to find gold. An excellent 30-minute movie tells the story of how the 1964 Alaska earthquake and resulting tsunami killed 32 people in Valdez and literally destroyed the town. A scale model of the original town was carefully created by a local woman and is on display here, in a series of glass cases. I wasn’t able to get any good pictures due to reflections on the glass. Survivors realized that the ground beneath the town would always be subject to liquefaction whenever earthquakes occurred, and decided to reconstruct the town in a better location, on bedrock.
One display in this museum was a little troublesome.
When I was a teenager, I had a dress very similar to this one, and I graduated from high school in 1964. This letterman’s jacket is from 1965, and isn’t that different from the one my boyfriend let me wear. That wasn’t that long ago, at least in my mind! I can’t possibly be old enough to have worn clothes like the ones displayed in a museum!