About Klondike Gold Rush Museum
The Klondike Gold Rush Museum explores the history of Seattle as it relates to this 19th century gold rush.
History of the Klondike Gold Rush Museum
In the late 1890s – a time of great economic depression – gold was discovered in the Yukon gold fields and along the Klondike river in large quantities. In the summer of 1897, prospectors returned from their adventures with over $1.5 million of gold – the equivalent of over $1 billion today. The press exploded, and people from all over America flocked to the Klondike in what has been described as a stampede.
This was the Klondike Gold Rush – although rush is an interesting term to use given how long it took most people to make it to the area. Overland travellers were forced to bring a year’s worth of food with them by the Canadian authorities in order to ensure their survival in what could be harsh conditions. Cold winters made parts of the route almost impassable.
Very few of the 30,000-40,000 people who arrived during the Gold Rush ever made any money: it’s thought that less than 10% of these ever struck gold, and of them, only a handful became very wealthy from it. Nonetheless, the Gold Rush had a major impact on the area, including the development of of Dawson City. It was short-lived as a phenomenon: by 1898, it had become apparent that many were struggling to make a living in the area.
The Klondike Gold Rush Museum today
The museum is part of the wider Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. From the sense of optimism and adventure inspired by the gold rush to the hardship and adversity experienced by those wishing to take advantage of it, the Klondike Gold Rush Museum looks at different aspects of this event, using 5 local historical characters to explore the boom or bust nature of gold rushes.
The Klondike Gold Rush Museum has a range of exhibits about this event and is a good starting point for learning about this historic event. There are also walking tours of the historic district. The museum is open daily, with hours varying seasonally. There’s plenty of good activities for children in particular – the museum is very family friendly.
Getting to the Klondike Gold Rush Museum
The site is on South Jackson Street, Seattle. The light rail station S Jackson St & Occidental Ave Walk is a couple of hundred metres away and King Street Station, which has local and intercity connections is 5 minutes walk away.
There is parking in central Seattle, but it’s relatively scarce. You’re best off getting a cab from elsewhere in the city or using public transport rather than driving.