Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Exploring the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area: Cooper Landing Museum


Topic:  Prehistory to Current Local History

Location:   Mile 48.7 Sterling Highway

The museum is between the bridge and Gwin’s Cafe

Short Description: The Cooper Landing Museum offers a broad view of the local history.  Perhaps the most unique feature is how the Cooper Landing Museum delves into local personalities of former settlers.

Required Equipment: None

Suggested Equipment: None

Safety Consideration: None

Other Info:

  • Jack Lean and Mona Painter are personalities that were showcased in the By-Ways and Highways portion of the curriculum.  It would be advantageous for students to have completed this lesson prior to a museum visit.
  • Limited Season and Hours:  Call for availability (907) 598-1042  (

f13-2Instructional Opportunities:

The first thing that greets a visitor when they enter the Cooper Landing Museum is the articulated brown bear skeleton created by Cooper Landing students under the guidance of teachers Sheryl and Ed Sotelo. (Can you find the recreated bones in the skeleton?) The second being the personal nature of the museum. Here are letters and photographs of not only the founders of Cooper Landing but also those who knew them— some who are current members of the Cooper Landing Historical Society. The close connection to the founding of this area is a trait shared by all the community museums in the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area. But it certainly resonates particularly true in the Cooper Landing Museum.

Here students have the luxury of conducting authentic research of the area’s history using primary resources. Volunteers at the museum can provide hundreds of letters, photographics, documents, and stories from their past. The Cooper Landing Museum, like all of the community museums in the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area, is a treasure for students at any grade-level wanting a crack at coming face-to-face with history.

cooper landing museum