palmer history  pamphlets



The Palmer Museum of History and Art, through the generosity of members of the community (past and present),  maintains an extensive historical artifact and photograph collection comprised of objects predominantly from the late 19th century through the early 21st century.   Items within the collection pertain to the exploration, settlement, trade, mining, and agricultural history of the region, as well as the Palmer Colony Project (which occurred during the Great Depression era) which set the foundation for the town of Palmer.

Please join the Palmer Museum in its efforts to develop and create public access to the visual and oral   history of the Palmer region.  For the next two years, the Palmer Museum is committed towards expanding its historical photography collections and providing public access to it.  Through the PMHA Image Access Project, the Palmer Museum will undergo three phases that will culminate in a   Palmer regional photography and oral history video bank that will include the historical photographs of the Matsu-Valley   communities of Sutton, Palmer, Wasilla, Big Lake, Houston, Willow and Talkeetna from variousorganizations throughout the region and oral histories from the notable residents who helped shape our region.

To learn more: PMHA Photo Project



During the late 1970’s, then teacher at Saroma High School Mr. Mutsuhiro Ishiguro and Mr. Edward Holmes of Palmer became good friends through their ham radio systems.  This warm friendship and interest in each other’s cultures gave birth to the Sister City relationship between Saroma, Japan and Palmer, Alaska.

On August 12, 1980, the Palmer City Council adopted resolution number 441, establishing a Sister City relationship with Saroma Town, Japan.  Each city entity sends official delegations every ten years to help continue to foster this friendship (the most recent delegation was Saroma to Alaska in 2015).  The relationship has since blossomed and extended to the schools in both communities through an annual student exchange program which has operated successfully in part due to the support of local organization Palmer Saroma Kai.  Both the City of Palmer and Palmer Saroma Kai continue to promote and support the international friendship through traveling delegations, gift exchanges, student exchanges, educational programs and cultural events.  Since 1980, many residents from both communities have visited each other and continue to make exchanges in various fields such as education, culture, industry and economy.

The Saroma Collection is comprised of a combination of traditional and non-traditional gifts from Saroma, Japan that have been presented to the City of Palmer over the past 25 years.  Pieces of the collection are exhibited within the Saroma Gallery at the museum along with information about both cities and facets of Japanese culture.


permanent contemporary art collection

Each year, the Palmer Museum of History and Art continues building its contemporary art collection as a means of demonstrating its commitment to support local artists and its responsibility to preserve those objects which lend historical and/or aesthetic significance to the Palmer community. However, with a limited budget, sometimes it is necessary to seek out additional funding to make these purchases possible.  This is why the Rasmuson Art Acquisition Fund was established and continues to be an important program for all Alaska museums. Initiated in 2003, the Art Acquisition Fund provides grants for Alaska museums to purchase current work by practicing Alaskan artists.  It arose out of the Rasmuson Foundation’s interest in encouraging museums to support Alaskan artists, and Museums Alaska’s interest in supporting professional practices among the state’s museums.

All but one piece within the Palmer Museum's Permanent Contemporary Art Collection were purchased through the Rasmuson Art Acquisition Fund (2011's Painters Thinner by Kara Senberg).  The museum has been collecting contemporary works since 2007 consisting of a variety of media from sculpture to photography.  The collection is currently on display inside the Palmer Museum's Extension Gallery located at the Palmer Public Library inside the Alaska Room along with information about the selection process.  The museum hopes to continue expanding on this collection and supporting our local Alaska artists for many years to come.



In addition to its indoor collections, the Palmer Museum works closely with members of the community to create an annual summer outdoor collection comprised of historical farm equipment.  Although most items on display are on permanent loan to the museum throughout the summer and are stored by the owners throughout the winter, the museum does own a few of the smaller farm implements and has plans on adding to its collection. 

Seed Planter (on loan from Marty Cantine)


Hay Rake (on loan from Arlene (Benson) Fox)


Horse-Drawn Plough


Hay Mower (on loan from Arlene (Benson) Fox)


Grain Drill (on loan from Arlene (Benson) Fox)